[extropy-chat] Pleasing Oneself

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Thu Feb 1 00:40:59 UTC 2007

Interesting subject line for this thread.  I hope it isn't self-referential?

AB wrote:

> Some time ago Jef Albright wrote:
>> "Seeking pleasure is ammoral , but tends to correlate with activity that we would assess as "good"."
> I would go so far as to say that achieving pleasure
> for oneself is, per se, beyond just being ammoral.
> I would argue that achieving pleasure for oneself
> is positively moral. It is only incidental that the
> entity that appears to sense and enjoy the pleasure
> is the one who is commonly considered to be "oneself".
> IOW, pleasing oneself is a special case of a more general
> condition (what Jef might consider "greater scope") of
> the whole of sentient beings experiencing pleasure.
> That's not to say that all sentients have a desire
> to please any sentient apart from themselves - as
> many examples will testify. However, I think that
> most humans would want other sentients to experience
> pleasure, all else being equal. IMHO, pleasing oneself
> only becomes arguably immoral (or ammoral) when the
> cost of the self-pleasure is a loss of pleasure in
> other sentients or a gain in suffering of other sentients.

So I understand that you believe pleasure is the ultimate measure of morality.

I understand you are claiming that morality is measured with respect to pleasure integrated over all sentient beings, right?  Do you also integrate over all time?  So that which provides the greatest pleasure for the greatest number for the greatest time is the most moral?

I assume you acknowledge the necessity of some short term sacrifice of pleasure in order to achieve the greater pleasure.  How do you see that working in principle?

Based on your reasoning, if 50 percent of the population are feeling less than average pleasure, would it be a moral good to eliminate them from the population in order to raise the overall level of pleasure?

- Jef

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