Hedonists are individuals who believe that pleasure is the only intrinsic good in life. Hedonists strive to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. The belief has an ethical background that dates back to the ancient Greeks, although many modern connotations of hedonism are generally sexual. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on Hedonists that follows your guidelines.
The Greeks and Hedonists
The term "hedonism" is derived from a Greek word meaning "delight." Ideas of hedonism can be found in the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, where the goddess Siduri advises men to make merry.
The following are examples of famous hedonists:
- Many ancient Egyptians were hedonists, as depictions of hedonistic lifestyles are common in some tombs and writings.
- The Greek philosopher Democritus was the first person to create a philosophical school of hedonism, believing that contentment was the ultimate aim of life.
- Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates, developed the idea of ethical hedonism.
- Epicurus was a hedonist philosopher.
Epicurus' school of thought, Epicureanism, held that the greatest good was to seek modest pleasure through the limiting of desire. Epicureanism was more about achieving balance than surrendering to one's passions. Jeremy Bentham, in developing Utilitarianism built on hedonist ideas in maximizing the good.
Hedonists and Freud
In psychology, hedonism is said to be the motivator for behavior that desires pleasure and avoids pain. Freud called this the pleasure principle, the driving force of the id. Therefore, most modern hedonists are wholly driven by the attainment of physical pleasure.