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Hedonism is a school of thought that argues seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering are the only components of well-being.[1]

Ethical hedonism is the view that combines hedonism with welfarist ethics, which claims that what we should do depends exclusively on what affects the well-being of individuals. Ethical hedonists would defend either increasing pleasure and reducing suffering for all beings capable of experiencing them; or just reducing suffering, in the case of negative consequentialism and negative utilitarianism.Hedonism is a school of thought that argues seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering are the only components of well-being.[1]

Ethical hedonism is the view that combines hedonism with welfarist ethics, which claims that what we should do depends exclusively on what affects the well-being of individuals. Ethical hedonists would defend either increasing pleasure and reducing suffering for all beings capable of experiencing them; or just reducing suffering, in the case of negative consequentialism and negative utilitarianism.[2][3][4][5] Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by Aristippus of Cyrene,[6] a student of Socrates. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.[7]

Hedonistic ethical egoism is the idea that each person should do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them.[8] It is also the idea that every person's pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain.[8]

For this, he has "written books on each of these facets of the same world view."gastronomy, sex and sensuality, bioethics, wine, and writing. His most ambitious project is his projected six-volume Counter-history of Philosophy," of which three have been published.[45] For Onfray:

In opposition to the ascetic ideal advocated by the dominant school of thought, hedonism suggests identifying the highest good with your own pleasure and that of others; the one must never be indulged at the expense of sacrificing the other. Obtaining this balance – my pleasure at the same time as the pleasure of others – presumes that we approach the subject from different angles – political, ethical, aesthetic, erotic, bioethical, pedagogical, historiographical….

For this, he has "written books on each of these facets of the same world view."[46] His philosophy aims for "micro-revolutions", or "revolutions of the individual and small groups of like-minded people who live by his hedonistic, libertarian values."[47]

The Abolitionist Society is a transhumanist group calling for the abolition of suffering in all sentient life through the use of advanced biotechnology. Their core philosophy is negative utilitarianism.

David Pearce is a theorist of this perspective who believes and promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. His book-length internet manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative[48] outlines how technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience among human and non-human animals, replacing suffering with gradients of well-being, a project he refers to as "paradise engineering."[49] A transhumanist and a vegan,David Pearce is a theorist of this perspective who believes and promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. His book-length internet manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative[48] outlines how technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience among human and non-human animals, replacing suffering with gradients of well-being, a project he refers to as "paradise engineering."[49] A transhumanist and a vegan,[50] Pearce believes that we (or our future posthuman descendants) have a responsibility not only to avoid cruelty to animals within human society but also to alleviate the suffering of animals in the wild.

In a talk given at the Future of Humanity Institute and at the Charity International, 'Happiness Conference', Pearce said:[51]

Sadly, what won't abolish suffering, or at least not on its own, is socio-economic reform, or exponential economic growth, or technological progress in the usual sense, or any of the traditional panaceas for solving the world's ills. Improving the external environment is admirable and important; but such improvement can't recalibrate our hedonic treadmill above a genetically constrained ceiling. Twin studies confirm there is a [partially] heritable set-point of well-being - or ill-being - around which we all tend to fluctuate over the course of a lifetime. This set-point varies between individuals. It's possible to lower an individual's hedonic set-point by inflicting prolonged uncontrolled stress; but even this re-set is not as easy as it sounds: suicide-rates typically go down in wartime; and six months after a quadriplegia-inducing accident, studies suggest that we are typically neither more nor less unhappy than we were before the catastrophic event. Unfortunately, attempts to build an ideal society can't overcome this biological ceiling, whether utopias of the left or right, free-market or socialist, religious or secular, futuristic high-tech or simply cultivating one's garden. Even if everything that traditional futurists have asked for is delivered - eternal youth, unlimited material wealth, morphological freedom, superintelligence, immersive VR, molecular nanotechnology, etc - there is no evidence that our subjective quality of life would on average significantly surpass the quality of life of our hunter-gatherer ancestors - or a New Guinea tribesman today - in the absence of reward pathway enrichment. This claim is difficult to prove in the absence of sophisticated neuroscanning; but objective indices of psychological distress e.g. suicide rates, bear it out. Unenhanced humans will still be prey to the spectrum of Darwinian emotions, ranging from terrible suffering to petty disappointments and frustrations - sadness, anxiety, jealousy, existential angst. Their biology is part of "what it means to be human". Subjectively unpleasant states of consciousness exist because they were genetically adaptive. Each of our core emotions had a distinct signalling role in our evolutionary past: they tended to promote behaviours that enhanced the inclusive fitness of our genes in the ancestral environment.

Russian physicist and philosopher Victor Argonov argues that hedonism is not only a philosophical but also a verifiable scientific hypothesis.[52] In 2014, he suggested "postulates of pleasure principle," the confirmation of which would lead to a new scientific discipline known as hedodynamics.

Hedodynamics would be able to forecast the distant future development of human civilization and even the probable structure and psychology of other rational beings within the universe.[53] In order to build such a theory, science must discover the neural correlate of pleasure—neurophy

Hedodynamics would be able to forecast the distant future development of human civilization and even the probable structure and psychology of other rational beings within the universe.[53] In order to build such a theory, science must discover the neural correlate of pleasure—neurophysiological parameter unambiguously corresponding to the feeling of pleasure (hedonic tone).

According to Argonov, posthumans will be able to reprogram their motivations in an arbitrary manner (to get pleasure from any programmed activity).[54] And if pleasure principle postulates are true, then general direction of civilization development is obvious: maximization of integral happiness in posthuman life (product of life span and average happiness). Posthumans will avoid constant pleasure stimulation, because it is incompatible with rational behavior required to prolong life. However, they can become on average much happier than modern humans.

Many other aspects of posthuman society could be predicted by hedodynamics if the neural correlate of pleasure were discovered. For example, optimal number of individuals, their optimal body size (whether it matters for happiness or not) and the degree of aggression.[54]

Critics of hedonism have objected to its exclusive concentration on pleasure as valuable or that the retentive breadth of dopamine is limited.[55]

In particular, G. E. Moore offered a thought experiment in criticism of pleasure as the sole bearer of value: he imagined two worlds—one of exceeding beauty and the other a heap of

In particular, G. E. Moore offered a thought experiment in criticism of pleasure as the sole bearer of value: he imagined two worlds—one of exceeding beauty and the other a heap of filth. Neither of these worlds will be experienced by anyone. The question then is if it is better for the beautiful world to exist than the heap of filth. In this, Moore implied that states of affairs have value beyond conscious pleasure, which he said spoke against the validity of hedonism.[56]

Perhaps the most famous objection to hedonism is Robert Nozick's famous experience machine. Nozick asks us to hypothetically imagine a machine that will allow us to experience whatever we want—if we want to experience making friends, it will give this to us. Nozick claims that by hedonistic logic, we should remain in this machine for the rest of our lives. However, he gives three reasons why this is not a preferable scenario: firstly, because we want to do certain things, as opposed to merely experience them; secondly, we want to be a certain kind of person, as opposed to an 'indeterminate blob' and thirdly, because such a thing would limit our experiences to only what we can imagine.[57] Peter Singer, a hedonistic utilitarian, and Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek have both argued against such an objection by saying that it only provides an answer to certain forms of hedonism, and ignores others.[58]