[ExI] Foregoing Pleasure

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 11:28:46 UTC 2007

On 05/12/2007, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Stathis writes
> > If anything, drug addiction occurs in our culture due to having too
> > little control over one's mind. Some drug addicts wish they had never
> > been tempted to use the drug in the first place,
> Hmm, but some are all right with it---or is it that they just
> don't fantasize?    Some have no regrets at all?

They mostly wish that they could enjoy their drug without the
associated problems: that the drug was cheaper and not illegal, that
it didn't impair their work performance, that their family weren't so
upset about their drug use, and so on. If that isn't possible, they
wish that they could limit their drug use, and if that isn't possible
either, they might wish they had never used the drug in the first
place. It is quite rare to encounter someone who really doesn't care
if their drug use destroys them.

> > If you thought that the denial of all pleasures was
> > important, you could simply make yourself content to deny yourself all
> > pleasures.
> Yes.
> > This would involve making pleasure-denial more pleasant
> > than the anticipation of pleasure indulgence.
> That sounds distinctly odd.  When I deny myself the possibility of pigging
> out on a large bag of junk food, I would not call my resultant state more
> "pleasant".  I just sigh and reconcile myself to having foregone a certain
> pleasure.  Also, experiencing fear of consequences, which keeps, say,
> some men from immediately raping any nearby female, also does not
> seem to qualify for "pleasant" in any way.

We could consider a sort of hedonic point system, where pleasure
yields positive points and pain negative points. At each juncture
where a decision is required, the decision is made that maximises the
expected number of points. Anticipation of the pleasure of rape is
outweighed by anticipation of the pain of rape, so rape does not
occur. A disinhibiting  substance like alcohol reduces the relative
weighting of the negative side of this equation, so rape occurs.

Stathis Papaioannou

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