Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

Gordon C. Thomasson (Introduction and [insertions] 2002)

The document that follows is scanned fromThe Works of Theodore Roosevelt, volume XIX, The Great Adventure (New York: Scribners, 1926 edition only), chapter 7, Lincoln and Free Speech, pages 289-300. In early February of 2002, I repeatedly encountered a citation from it in a message from friends and then over the internet:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

This text later appeared in Doonesbury on Sunday, February 10, 2002.

Shortly thereafter I obtained the complete text through interlibrary loan. At first I only wanted to be sure that this-too good to be true-text was accurate and being represented as it read in context. But I found that the full text is important enough that it merits reproduction in entirety. Beside these initial remarks, I have made a few comments within the text, which are clearly indicated, being enclosed in [square brackets].

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), was the 26th president of the United States. By party he was a progressive Republican when he completed the assassinated William McKinleys term and one of his own (1901-1908). When four years later (1912) he tried for a second complete term of his own, he lost the Republican nomination for re-election, bolted the party and formed a third Progressive party. Just as Ross Perots party took votes from the Republican George Bush Sr., and gave Bill Clinton the 1992 election as well as the 1996 election against Bob Dole, Roosevelt drained Republican votes and gave the 1912 and 1916 elections to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Roosevelts politics were mildly reformist, attacking the worst excesses of big business. As could be anticipated by his role during the Spanish-American war in Cuba in 1898, he was an imperialist who wanted the U.S. to seize and exploit more overseas colonies, holding, for example, the Philippines and taking Panama from Columbia. As tensions arose between the expanding empires of central Europe and the already huge empires of Great Britain and France over the diminishingLebensraum (literally lifespace or perhaps more loosly elbowroom, but more accurately reflecting the struggle for larger shares of scarce colonial lands, peoples and resources), he became rabidly anti-German. Having taken the side of the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and czarist Russia) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, the latter later replaced by the Ottoman Empire), Roosevelt never addressed the serious moral questions raised for any serious observer by the entire first World War.

During Woodrow Wilsons first presidential term (1912-1916), Wilson supposedly opposed becoming involved with what the American public saw as a European conflict and wanted to avoid being dragged into(following George Washingtons counsel against entangling alliances and European wars). Roosevelt was a war hawk who attacked the administration for avoiding the conflict. In 1916, Roosevelt bolted his own Progressive party and supported the Republican candidate, Charles Evans Hughes. After defeating the divided parties, in Wilsons second term, after having inflamed the American public through the earlier contrived sinking (in cooperation with Winston Churchill) of the supposedly neutral passenger ship Lusitania (an event that scarred the psyche of the American public much like 9-11), Wilson entered the war. (The Lusitania had used civilian passengers as human shields. Instead of being a neutral passenger vessel, beside mounting deck cannon fed ammunition from its bunkers by special elevators, it smuggled contraband cargo: over a million rounds of ammunition, high explosives and other war materielsall illegal for a neutral passenger ship to transport-were in its hold. Naturally it exploded and rapidly sank with enormous loss of life after being torpedoed.)

Roosevelt applauded Americas entry and participation in World War I, but never ceased to attack Wilsons conduct of the war. To what degree Roosevelts attacks were sincere, and to what degree they reflected his positioning himself to be a presidential candidate in 1920, is difficult to determine. Certainly through the war years he spoke and essayed constantly, leaving a substantial body of writing in this regard in his collected works, but what weight we give to it in terms of sincerity is problematic. Nevertheless, the case Roosevelt makes for the right of opponents of an administration and president to attack the governments policies in Lincoln and Free Speech is dramatic, instructive, and constitutionally correct as far as it goes.

But Roosevelt, in his essay, wants to have his cake and eat it too. The essay protects him in his attacks by marshalling history, logic, and the Mexican war protests of Abraham Lincoln (who as protege of Henry Clay only followed the lead of his patron), but Roosevelt does not extend this to those with whom he disagrees. The definition he provides for sedition (page 290) is self-serving and selective. It would make civil disobedience felonious, and the most essential aspects of political speech opposite his own position illegal rather than free.

Wilsons Justice Department and the Supreme Court, in cases against people opposing the war and the draft employed essentially the same politically convenient definitions as did Roosevelt. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes supposedly cool and reasonable definition of the limits to free speech, that people cannot be allowed to shout fire in a crowded theater, is in fact pornographic legal dicta and not law. He wrote it in attempting to rationalize an unprecedented decision-actually judicial legislation-making it illegal to speak against the draft. For him, fire literally meant opposition to the draft and the war, and the theater was the United States. Pointing out that the draft was anti-constitutional might cause a stampede away from it. This meant that opposition to military conscription or a draft-the most anti-constitutional perversion of American law in U.S. history-was criminalized and prosecuted to the fullest. Even cartoons ridiculing the draft were suppressed and the artists who drew them went to jail. Wilson, the intellectual Ph.D., political scientist, economist and historian, wanted to crush the First Amendment and everything for which it stood. Roosevelt wanted First Amendment freedom for himself to criticize, but opposed it for those who took a completely opposite position from his on the war. But if freedom of speech, assembly, and association does not protect all positions of political conscience regarding war-as indisputably intended by the Founding Fathers-protections for the protest of policy implementation for only one side of the debate are meaningless. Finally, Roosevelts essay stands as a ringing condemnation of himself as much as it is of President Woodrow Wilson, his over-reaching Attorney General, Justice Department, and, as Roosevelt rightly recognizes, Wilsons sycophantish partisan supporters in time of war.

Gordon C. Thomasson, Ph.D.History FacultyBroome Community College (SUNY)

Letters to His ChildrenBy Theodore RooseveltNew YorkCharles Scribners Sons 1926

RANCH LIFE AND THE HUNTING TRAIL

II. THE WILDERNESS HUNTER

OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN

HUNTER, I

III. OUTDOOR PASTIMES OF AN AMERICAN HUNTER, II

A BOOR-LOVERS HOLIDAYS IN THE OPEN

IV. AFRICAN GAME TRAILS

V. THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS

PAPERS ON NATURAL HISTORY

VI. THE NAVAL WAR OF 1812

VII. THOMAS HART BENTON

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS

VIII. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, I

IX. THE WINNING OF THE WEST, II

X. HERO TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY

OLIVER CROMWELL

NEW YORK

XI. THE ROUGH RIDERS MEN OF ACTION

XII. LITERARY ESSAYS

XIII. AMERICAN IDEALS THE STRENUOUS LIFE

XIV. CAMPAIGNS AND CONTROVERSIES

XV. STATE PAPERS AS GOVERNOR AND PRESIDENT

XVI. AMERICAN PROBLEMS

XVII. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND POPULAR RULE

XVIII. AMERICA AND THE WORLD WAR

FEAR GOD AND TAKE YOUR OWN PART

XIX. THE FOES OF OUR OWN HOUSEHOLD

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN

XX. AUTOBIOGRAPHY

INDEX

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH

PATRIOTISM means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truthwhether about the President or about any one elsesave in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him.Sedition, in the legal sense, means to betray the government, to give aid and comfort to the enemy, or to counsel resistance to the laws or to measures of government having the force. of law. There can be conduct morally as bad as legal sedition which yet may not be violation of law. The Presidentany Presidentcan by speech or action (by advocating an improper peace. or improper submission to national wrong) give aid and comfort to the public enemy as no one else in. the land can do, and yet his conduct, however damaging to the, country, is not seditious; and although if public sentiment is sufficiently aroused he can be impeached, such course is practically impossible.One form of servility consists in a slavish attitudeof the kind, incompatible with self-respecting manlinesstoward any person who is powerful by reason of his office or position.. Servility may be shown by a public servant toward the profiteering head of a large corporation, or toward the anti-American

290 THE GREAT ADVENTUREhead of a big labor organization. It may also be shown in peculiarly noxious and un-American form by confounding the President orany other official with the country and shrieking stand by the President, without regard to whether, by so acting, we do or do not stand by the country.A distinguished Federal judge recently wrote me as follows:Last November [1917?] it seemed as if the American people were going to be converted into a hallelujah chorus, whose only function in government should be to shout Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for everything that the Administration did or failed to do. Any one who did not join that chorus was liable to imprisonment for treason or sedition.I hope that we shall soon have recovered our sense as well as our liberty.The authors of the first amendment to the Federal Constitution guaranteeing the right of assembly and of freedom of speech and of the press. did not thus safeguard those rights for the sake alone of persons who were to enjoy them, but even more because they knew that the Republic which they were founding could not be worked on any other basis. Since Marshall tried Burr for treason it has been clear that that crime cannot be committed by words, unless one acts as a spy, or gives advice to the enemy of military or naval operations. It cannot be committed by statements reflecting upon officers or measures of government.Sedition is different. Any one who directly advises or counsels resistance to measures of government is guilty of sedition. That, however, ought to be clearly distinguished from discussion of the wisdom or folly of measures of government, or the honesty or competency of public officers. That is not sedition. It is within the protection of the first amendment. The electorate cannot be qualified to perform its duty in removing incompetent officers and securing the repeal of unwise laws unless those questions may be freely discussed.The, right to say wise things necessarily implies the right to say foolish things. The answer to foolish speech is wise

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 291speech and not force. The Republic is founded upon the faith that if the American people are permitted freely to hear foolish and wise speech, a majority will choose the wise. If that faith is not justified the Republic is based on sand. John Milton said it all in his defense of freedom of the press: `Let truth and error grapple. Who ever knew truth to be beaten in a fair fight? Abraham Lincoln was in Congress while Polk was President, during the Mexican War. The following extracts from his speeches, during war-time, about the then President ought to be illuminating to those persons who do not understand that one of the highest and most patriotic duties to be performed in his country at this time is to tell the truth whenever it becomes necessary in order to force our government to speed up the war. It would, for example, be our highest duty to tell it if at any time we became convinced that only thereby could we shame our leaders out of hypocrisy and prevent the betrayal of human rights by peace talk of the kind which bewilders and deceives plain people.These quotations can be found on pages 100 to 146 of Volume I of Lincolns Complete Works, by Nicolay and Hay.In a speech on January 12, 1848, Lincoln justified himself for voting in favor of a resolution censuring the President for his action prior to and during the war (which was still going on). He examines the Presidents official message of justification and says, that, taking for true all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification, and that the President would have gone further with his proof if it had not been for the small matter that the truth would not permit him. He says that part of the message is from beginning to end the sheerest deception. He then asks the President to answer certain questions, and says: Let him answer fully, fairly, and candidly. Let him answer with facts and not with arguments. Let him remember that he sits where Washington sat, and so remembering, let him answer as Washington would answer. Let him attempt no evasion, no

292 THE GREAT ADVENTUREequivocation. In other words, Lincoln says that he does not wish rhetoric, or fine phrases or glittering statements that contradict one another and each of which has to be explained with a separate key or adroit and subtle special pleading and constant reversal of positions previously held, but straightforward and consistent adherence to the truth. He continues that he more than suspects that the President is deeply conscious of being in the wrong; that he feels that innocent blood is crying to heaven against him; that one of the best generals had been driven into disfavor, if not disgrace, by the President for insisting upon speaking unpalatable truths about the length of time the war would take (and therefore the need of full preparedness); and ends by saying that the army has done admirably, but that the President has bungled his work and knows not where he is. He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. God grant he may be able to show there is not something about his conscience more painful than all his mental perplexity.Remember that this is Lincoln speaking, in war-time, of the President. The general verdict of history has justified him. But it is impossible to justify him and not heartily to condemn the persons who in our time endeavor to suppress truth-telling of a far less emphatic type than Lincolns.Lincoln had to deal with various critics of the stand by the President type. To one he answers that, the only alternative is to tell the truth or to lie, and that he would not skulk on such a question. He explains that the Presidents supporters are untiring in their efforts to make the impression that all who vote supplies or take part in the war do of necessity approve the Presidents conduct, but that he (Lincoln) and his associates sharply distinguished between the two and voted supplies and men but denounced the Presidents conduct and condemned the Administration. He stated that to give the President the power demanded for him by certain people would place the President where kings have always stood. In touching on what we should now speak of as rhetoric, he says

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 293The honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day, while the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, and yet what a monstrous inequality in the price! He emphatically protests against permitting the President to take the whole of legislation into his handssurely a statement applying exactly to the present situation. To the Presidents servile party supporters he makes a distinction which also readily applies at the present day: The distinction between the cause of the President . . . and the cause of the country. . . you cannot perceive. To you the President and the country seem to be all one.. . . We see the distinction clearly enough.This last statement was the crux of the matter then and is the crux of the matter now. We hold that our loyalty is due solely to the American Republic, and to all our public servants exactly in proportion as they efficiently and faithfully serve the Republic. Our opponents, in flat contradiction of Lincolns position, hold that our loyalty is due to the President, not the country; to one man, the servant of the people, instead of to the people themselves. In practice they adopt the fetichism [sic] of all believers in absolutism, for every man who parrots the, cry of stand by the President without adding the proviso so far as he serves the Republic takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the king could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent freeman can take such an attitude.The Wisconsin legislature has just set forth the proper American doctrine, as followsThe people of the State of Wisconsin always have stood and always will stand squarely behind the National Government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end, and we condemn Senator Robert La Follette and all others who have failed to see the righteousness of our nations cause, who have failed to support our government in matters vital to the winning of the war, and

294 THE GREAT ADVENTUREwe denounce any attitude or utterance of theirs which has tended to incite sedition among the people of our country. [It is noteworthy that the voters of Wisconsin disregarded the state legislatures rhetoric as well as national attempts to expel him from the U.S. Senate and try him for treason, which backfired, and returned LaFollette to the U.S. Senate in 1923.]In view of the recent attitude of the Administration as expressed through the attorney-general and postmaster-general I commend to its attention the utterances of Abraham Lincoln in 1848 and of the Wisconsin legislature in 1918. The Administrations warfare against German spies and American traitors has been feeble. The government has achieved far less in this direction than has been achieved by a few of our newspapers and by various private individuals. This failure is aggravated by such action as was threatened againstThe Metropolitan Magazine.The Metropolitanand the present writerhave stood and will continue to stand, squarely behind the national government in all things which are essential to bring the present war to a successful end and to support the righteousness of the nations cause. We will stand behind the country at every point, and we will at every point either support or oppose the Administration precisely in proportion as it does or does not with efficiency and single-minded devotion serve the country.From this position we will not be driven by any abuse of power or by any effort to make us not the loyal servants of the American people, but the cringing tools of a man who at the moment has power.The Administration has in some of its actions on vital points shown great inefficiency (as proved by Senator Chamberlains committee) and on other points has been guilty of conduct toward certain peoples wholly inconsistent with its conduct toward other peoples and wholly inconsistent with its public professions as regards all international conduct. It cannot meet these accusations, for they are truthful, and to try to suppress the truth by preventing the circulation ofThe Metropolitan Magazine is as high-handed a defiance of liberty and justice as anything done by the Hohenzollerns or the Romanoffs. [Roosevelt uses these royal families as examples of German and Russian tyranny, respectively.] Such action is intolerable. Contrast the leniency shown by the government toward the grossest offenses against the nation

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 295with its eagerness to assail any one who tells unpleasant truths about the Administration. The Hearst papers play the German game when they oppose the war, assail our allies, and clamor for an inconclusive peace, and they play the German game when they assail the men who truthfully point out the shortcomings which, unless corrected, will redound to Germanys advantage and our terrible disadvantage. But the Administration has taken no action against the Hear[s]t papers.The Metropolitan Magazine has supported the war, has championed every measure to speed up the war and to make our strength effective, and has stood against every proposal for a peace without victory. But the Administration acts against the magazine that in straightforward American fashion has championed the war. Such discrimination is not compatible with either honesty or patriotism. It means that the Administration is using the great power of the government to punish honest criticism of its shortcomings, while it accepts support of and apology for these shortcomings as an offset to action against the war and, therefore, against the nation. Conduct of this kind is a grave abuse of official power.[1]Whatever the Administration does, I shall continue to act in the future precisely as I have acted in the past. When a sena-

____________[1] The simple truth is that never in our history has any other Administration during a great war played politics of the narrowest personal and partisan type as President Wilson has done; and one of the features of this effort has been the careful and studied effort to mislead and misinform the public through information sedulously and copiously furnished them by government officials. An even worse feature has been the largely successful effort to break down freedom of speech and the freedom of the press by government action. Much of this action has been taken under the guise of attacking disloyalty; but it has represented action, not against those who were disloyal to the nation, but. against those who disagreed with or criticised the President for failure in the performance of duty to the nation. The action of the government against real traitors, and against German spies and agents, has been singularly weak and ineffective. The chief of the Secret Service said that there were a quarter of a million German spies in this country. Senator Overman put the number at a larger figure; but not one has been shot or hung, and relatively few have been interfered with in any way. The real vigor of the Administration has been directed against honest critics who have endeavored to force it to speed up the war and to act with prompt efficiency against Germany. T.R.

296 THE GREAT ADVENTUREtor like Mr. Chamberlain in some great matter serves the country better than does the Administration, I shall support that senator; and when a senator like Mr. La Follette perseveres in the course followed by the Administration before it reversed itself in February, 1917 [urging that the U.S. stay out of World War I], I shall oppose him and to that extent support the Administration in its present position. I shall continue to support the Administration in every such action as floating the liberty loans, raising the draft army, or sending our troops abroad. I shall continue truthfully to criticise any flagrant acts of incompetency by the Administration, such as the failure in shipping matters and the breakdown of the War Department during the last fourteen months, when it appears that such truthful criticism offers the only chance of remedying the wrong. I shall support every official from the President down who does well, and shall oppose every such official who does ill. I shall not put the personal comfort of the President or of any other public servant above the welfare of the country.In a self-governing country the people are called citizens. [1] Under a despotism or autocracy the people are called subjects. This is because in a free country the people are themselves sovereign, while in a despotic country the people are under a sovereign. In the United States the people are all citizens, including its President. The rest of them are fellow citizens of the President. In Germany the people are all subjects of the Kaiser. They are not his fellow citizens, they are his subjects. This is the essential difference between the United States and Germany, but the difference would vanish if we now submitted to the foolish or traitorous persons who endeavor to make it a crime to tell the truth about the Administration when the Administration is guilty of incompetence or other shortcomings. Such endeavor is itself a crime against the nation. Those who take such an attitude are guilty of moral treason of a kind both abject and dangerous.

_______________[1] This paragraph and the five which follow are from two articles on the same theme in the Kansas CityStar, April 6 and May 7, 1918.

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 297Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy. Since this war began, the suppression of the truth by and about the Administration has been habitual. In rare cases this has been disadvantageous the enemy. In the vast majority of cases it has been advantageous to the enemy, detrimental to the American people, and useful to the Administration only from the political, not the patriotic, standpoint.The Senate Judiciary Committee has just recommended the passage of a law in which, among many excellent propositions to put down disloyalty, there has been adroitly inserted a provision that any one who uses contemptuous or slurring language about the President shall be punished by imprisonment for a long term of years and by a fine of many thousand dollars. This proposed law is sheer treason to the United States. Under its terms Abraham Lincoln would have been sent to prison for what he repeatedly said of Presidents Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. Under its terms President Wilson would be free to speak of Senator-elect Lenroot as he has spoken, but Senator Lenroot would not be free truthfully to answer President Wilson. It is a proposal to make Americans subjects instead of citizens. It is a proposal to put the President in the position of the Hohenzollerns and Romanoffs. Government by the people means that the people have the right to do their own thinking and to do their own speaking about their public servants. They must speak truthfully and they must not be disloyal to the country, and it is their highest duty by truthful criticism to make and keep the public servants loyal to the country.

298 THE GREAT ADVENTUREAny truthful criticism could and would be held by partisanship to be slurring or contemptuous. The Delaware House of Representatives has just shown this. It came within one vote of passing a resolution demanding that the Department of Justice proceed against me because, in my recent speeches in Maine, I severely criticised the conduct of our national government. I defy any human being to point out a statement in that speech which was not true and which was not patriotic, and yet the decent and patriotic members of the Delaware legislature were only able to secure a majority of one against the base and servile partisanship of those who upheld the resolution. [It would be ironic that Roosevelt does not here recognize the parallel between himself and LaFollette, were it not for the fact that LaFollette also was a possible Progressive candidate for the presidency, which nomination Teddy hoped to obtain for himself.]I believe the proposed law is unconstitutional. If it is passed, I shall certainly give the government the opportunity to test its constitutionality. For whenever the need arises I shall in the future speak truthfully of the President in praise or in blame, exactly as I have done in the past. When the President in the past uttered his statements about being too proud to fight and wishing peace without victory, and considering that we had no special grievance against Germany, I spoke of him as it was my high duty to speak. Therefore, I spoke of him truthfully and severely, and I cared nothing whether or not timid and unpatriotic and short-sighted men said that I spoke slurringly or contemptuously. In as far as the President in the future endeavors to wage this war efficiently and to secure the peace of overwhelming victory, I shall heartily support him. But if he wages it inefficiently or if he should now champion a peace without victory, or say that we had no grievance against Germany, I would speak in criticism of him precisely as I have spoken in the past. I am an American and a free man. My loyalty is due to the United States, and therefore it is due to the President, the senators, the congressmen, and all other public servants only and to the degree in which they loyally and efficiently serve the United States.Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free

LINCOLN AND FREE SPEECH 299press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free. Our government is the servant, of the people, whereas in Germany it is the master of the people. This is because the American people are free and the German are not free. The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.I contemptuously refuse to recognize any American adaptation of the German doctrine of lese-majesty. I am concerned only with the welfare of my beloved country and with the effort to beat down the German horror in the interest of the orderly freedom of all the nations of mankind. If the Administration does the work of war with all possible speed and efficiency, and stands for preparedness as a permanent policy, and heartily supports our allies to the end, and insists upon complete victory as a basis for peace, I shall heartily support it. If the Administration moves in the direction of an improper peace, of the peace of defeat and of cowardice, or if it wages war feebly and timidly, I shall oppose it and shall endeavor to wake the American people to their danger. I hold that only in this way can I act as patriotism bids me

300 THE GREAT ADVENTUREact. I hold that only in this way can I serve in even the slightest degree the cause of America, of the Allies, and of liberty; and that only thus can I aid in thwarting Germanys effort to establish a world tyranny.

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Theodore Roosevelts 1918 Wartime Essay: Lincoln And Free …

Superintelligence – Wikipedia

A superintelligence is a hypothetical agent that possesses intelligence far surpassing that of the brightest and most gifted human minds. “Superintelligence” may also refer to a property of problem-solving systems (e.g., superintelligent language translators or engineering assistants) whether or not these high-level intellectual competencies are embodied in agents that act in the world. A superintelligence may or may not be created by an intelligence explosion and associated with a technological singularity.

University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom defines superintelligence as “any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest”. The program Fritz falls short of superintelligence even though it is much better than humans at chess because Fritz cannot outperform humans in other tasks. Following Hutter and Legg, Bostrom treats superintelligence as general dominance at goal-oriented behavior, leaving open whether an artificial or human superintelligence would possess capacities such as intentionality (cf. the Chinese room argument) or first-person consciousness (cf. the hard problem of consciousness).

Technological researchers disagree about how likely present-day human intelligence is to be surpassed. Some argue that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will probably result in general reasoning systems that lack human cognitive limitations. Others believe that humans will evolve or directly modify their biology so as to achieve radically greater intelligence. A number of futures studies scenarios combine elements from both of these possibilities, suggesting that humans are likely to interface with computers, or upload their minds to computers, in a way that enables substantial intelligence amplification.

Some researchers believe that superintelligence will likely follow shortly after the development of artificial general intelligence. The first generally intelligent machines are likely to immediately hold an enormous advantage in at least some forms of mental capability, including the capacity of perfect recall, a vastly superior knowledge base, and the ability to multitask in ways not possible to biological entities. This may give them the opportunity toeither as a single being or as a new speciesbecome much more powerful than humans, and to displace them.

A number of scientists and forecasters argue for prioritizing early research into the possible benefits and risks of human and machine cognitive enhancement, because of the potential social impact of such technologies.

Philosopher David Chalmers argues that artificial general intelligence is a very likely path to superhuman intelligence. Chalmers breaks this claim down into an argument that AI can achieve equivalence to human intelligence, that it can be extended to surpass human intelligence, and that it can be further amplified to completely dominate humans across arbitrary tasks.

Concerning human-level equivalence, Chalmers argues that the human brain is a mechanical system, and therefore ought to be emulatable by synthetic materials. He also notes that human intelligence was able to biologically evolve, making it more likely that human engineers will be able to recapitulate this invention. Evolutionary algorithms in particular should be able to produce human-level AI. Concerning intelligence extension and amplification, Chalmers argues that new AI technologies can generally be improved on, and that this is particularly likely when the invention can assist in designing new technologies.

If research into strong AI produced sufficiently intelligent software, it would be able to reprogram and improve itself a feature called “recursive self-improvement”. It would then be even better at improving itself, and could continue doing so in a rapidly increasing cycle, leading to a superintelligence. This scenario is known as an intelligence explosion. Such an intelligence would not have the limitations of human intellect, and may be able to invent or discover almost anything.

Computer components already greatly surpass human performance in speed. Bostrom writes, “Biological neurons operate at a peak speed of about 200 Hz, a full seven orders of magnitude slower than a modern microprocessor (~2 GHz).” Moreover, neurons transmit spike signals across axons at no greater than 120 m/s, “whereas existing electronic processing cores can communicate optically at the speed of light”. Thus, the simplest example of a superintelligence may be an emulated human mind that’s run on much faster hardware than the brain. A human-like reasoner that could think millions of times faster than current humans would have a dominant advantage in most reasoning tasks, particularly ones that require haste or long strings of actions.

Another advantage of computers is modularity, that is, their size or computational capacity can be increased. A non-human (or modified human) brain could become much larger than a present-day human brain, like many supercomputers. Bostrom also raises the possibility of collective superintelligence: a large enough number of separate reasoning systems, if they communicated and coordinated well enough, could act in aggregate with far greater capabilities than any sub-agent.

There may also be ways to qualitatively improve on human reasoning and decision-making. Humans appear to differ from chimpanzees in the ways we think more than we differ in brain size or speed.[9] Humans outperform non-human animals in large part because of new or enhanced reasoning capacities, such as long-term planning and language use. (See evolution of human intelligence and primate cognition.) If there are other possible improvements to reasoning that would have a similarly large impact, this makes it likelier that an agent can be built that outperforms humans in the same fashion humans outperform chimpanzees.

All of the above advantages hold for artificial superintelligence, but it is not clear how many hold for biological superintelligence. Physiological constraints limit the speed and size of biological brains in many ways that are inapplicable to machine intelligence. As such, writers on superintelligence have devoted much more attention to superintelligent AI scenarios.

Carl Sagan suggested that the advent of Caesarean sections and in vitro fertilization may permit humans to evolve larger heads, resulting in improvements via natural selection in the heritable component of human intelligence.[12] By contrast, Gerald Crabtree has argued that decreased selection pressure is resulting in a slow, centuries-long reduction in human intelligence, and that this process instead is likely to continue into the future. There is no scientific consensus concerning either possibility, and in both cases the biological change would be slow, especially relative to rates of cultural change.

Selective breeding, nootropics, NSI-189, MAO-I’s, epigenetic modulation, and genetic engineering could improve human intelligence more rapidly. Bostrom writes that if we come to understand the genetic component of intelligence, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis could be used to select for embryos with as much as 4 points of IQ gain (if one embryo is selected out of two), or with larger gains (e.g., up to 24.3 IQ points gained if one embryo is selected out of 1000). If this process is iterated over many generations, the gains could be an order of magnitude greater. Bostrom suggests that deriving new gametes from embryonic stem cells could be used to iterate the selection process very rapidly. A well-organized society of high-intelligence humans of this sort could potentially achieve collective superintelligence.

Alternatively, collective intelligence might be constructible by better organizing humans at present levels of individual intelligence. A number of writers have suggested that human civilization, or some aspect of it (e.g., the Internet, or the economy), is coming to function like a global brain with capacities far exceeding its component agents. If this systems-based superintelligence relies heavily on artificial components, however, it may qualify as an AI rather than as a biology-based superorganism.

A final method of intelligence amplification would be to directly enhance individual humans, as opposed to enhancing their social or reproductive dynamics. This could be achieved using nootropics, somatic gene therapy, or braincomputer interfaces. However, Bostrom expresses skepticism about the scalability of the first two approaches, and argues that designing a superintelligent cyborg interface is an AI-complete problem.

Most surveyed AI researchers expect machines to eventually be able to rival humans in intelligence, though there is little consensus on when this will likely happen. At the 2006 AI@50 conference, 18% of attendees reported expecting machines to be able “to simulate learning and every other aspect of human intelligence” by 2056; 41% of attendees expected this to happen sometime after 2056; and 41% expected machines to never reach that milestone.[17]

In a survey of the 100 most cited authors in AI (as of May 2013, according to Microsoft academic search), the median year by which respondents expected machines “that can carry out most human professions at least as well as a typical human” (assuming no global catastrophe occurs) with 10% confidence is 2024 (mean 2034, st. dev. 33 years), with 50% confidence is 2050 (mean 2072, st. dev. 110 years), and with 90% confidence is 2070 (mean 2168, st. dev. 342 years). These estimates exclude the 1.2% of respondents who said no year would ever reach 10% confidence, the 4.1% who said ‘never’ for 50% confidence, and the 16.5% who said ‘never’ for 90% confidence. Respondents assigned a median 50% probability to the possibility that machine superintelligence will be invented within 30 years of the invention of approximately human-level machine intelligence.

Bostrom expressed concern about what values a superintelligence should be designed to have. He compared several proposals:

Responding to Bostrom, Santos-Lang raised concern that developers may attempt to start with a single kind of superintelligence.

Learning computers that rapidly become superintelligent may take unforeseen actions or robots might out-compete humanity (one potential technological singularity scenario).[21] Researchers have argued that, by way of an “intelligence explosion” sometime over the next century, a self-improving AI could become so powerful as to be unstoppable by humans.[22]

Concerning human extinction scenarios, Bostrom (2002) identifies superintelligence as a possible cause:

When we create the first superintelligent entity, we might make a mistake and give it goals that lead it to annihilate humankind, assuming its enormous intellectual advantage gives it the power to do so. For example, we could mistakenly elevate a subgoal to the status of a supergoal. We tell it to solve a mathematical problem, and it complies by turning all the matter in the solar system into a giant calculating device, in the process killing the person who asked the question.

In theory, since a superintelligent AI would be able to bring about almost any possible outcome and to thwart any attempt to prevent the implementation of its goals, many uncontrolled, unintended consequences could arise. It could kill off all other agents, persuade them to change their behavior, or block their attempts at interference.[23]

Eliezer Yudkowsky explains: “The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.”[24]

This presents the AI control problem: how to build a superintelligent agent that will aid its creators, while avoiding inadvertently building a superintelligence that will harm its creators. The danger of not designing control right “the first time”, is that a misprogrammed superintelligence might rationally decide to “take over the world” and refuse to permit its programmers to modify it once it has been activated. Potential design strategies include “capability control” (preventing an AI from being able to pursue harmful plans), and “motivational control” (building an AI that wants to be helpful).

Bill Hibbard advocates for public education about superintelligence and public control over the development of superintelligence.

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Superintelligence – Wikipedia

Astrophysics – Wikipedia

This article is about the use of physics and chemistry to determine the nature of astronomical objects. For the use of physics to determine their positions and motions, see Celestial mechanics. For the physical study of the largest-scale structures of the universe, see Physical cosmology. For the journal, see Astrophysics (journal).

Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that employs the principles of physics and chemistry “to ascertain the nature of the astronomical objects, rather than their positions or motions in space”.[1][2] Among the objects studied are the Sun, other stars, galaxies, extrasolar planets, the interstellar medium and the cosmic microwave background.[3][4] Their emissions are examined across all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the properties examined include luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition. Because astrophysics is a very broad subject, astrophysicists typically apply many disciplines of physics, including mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics.

In practice, modern astronomical research often involves a substantial amount of work in the realms of theoretical and observational physics. Some areas of study for astrophysicists include their attempts to determine: the properties of dark matter, dark energy, and black holes; whether or not time travel is possible, wormholes can form, or the multiverse exists; and the origin and ultimate fate of the universe.[3] Topics also studied by theoretical astrophysicists include: Solar System formation and evolution; stellar dynamics and evolution; galaxy formation and evolution; magnetohydrodynamics; large-scale structure of matter in the universe; origin of cosmic rays; general relativity and physical cosmology, including string cosmology and astroparticle physics.

Although astronomy is as ancient as recorded history itself, it was long separated from the study of terrestrial physics. In the Aristotelian worldview, bodies in the sky appeared to be unchanging spheres whose only motion was uniform motion in a circle, while the earthly world was the realm which underwent growth and decay and in which natural motion was in a straight line and ended when the moving object reached its goal. Consequently, it was held that the celestial region was made of a fundamentally different kind of matter from that found in the terrestrial sphere; either Fire as maintained by Plato, or Aether as maintained by Aristotle.[5][6] During the 17th century, natural philosophers such as Galileo,[7] Descartes,[8] and Newton[9] began to maintain that the celestial and terrestrial regions were made of similar kinds of material and were subject to the same natural laws.[10] Their challenge was that the tools had not yet been invented with which to prove these assertions.[11]

For much of the nineteenth century, astronomical research was focused on the routine work of measuring the positions and computing the motions of astronomical objects.[12][13] A new astronomy, soon to be called astrophysics, began to emerge when William Hyde Wollaston and Joseph von Fraunhofer independently discovered that, when decomposing the light from the Sun, a multitude of dark lines (regions where there was less or no light) were observed in the spectrum.[14] By 1860 the physicist, Gustav Kirchhoff, and the chemist, Robert Bunsen, had demonstrated that the dark lines in the solar spectrum corresponded to bright lines in the spectra of known gases, specific lines corresponding to unique chemical elements.[15] Kirchhoff deduced that the dark lines in the solar spectrum are caused by absorption by chemical elements in the Solar atmosphere.[16] In this way it was proved that the chemical elements found in the Sun and stars were also found on Earth.

Among those who extended the study of solar and stellar spectra was Norman Lockyer, who in 1868 detected bright, as well as dark, lines in solar spectra. Working with the chemist, Edward Frankland, to investigate the spectra of elements at various temperatures and pressures, he could not associate a yellow line in the solar spectrum with any known elements. He thus claimed the line represented a new element, which was called helium, after the Greek Helios, the Sun personified.[17][18]

In 1885, Edward C. Pickering undertook an ambitious program of stellar spectral classification at Harvard College Observatory, in which a team of woman computers, notably Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, and Annie Jump Cannon, classified the spectra recorded on photographic plates. By 1890, a catalog of over 10,000 stars had been prepared that grouped them into thirteen spectral types. Following Pickering’s vision, by 1924 Cannon expanded the catalog to nine volumes and over a quarter of a million stars, developing the Harvard Classification Scheme which was accepted for worldwide use in 1922.[19]

In 1895, George Ellery Hale and James E. Keeler, along with a group of ten associate editors from Europe and the United States,[20] established The Astrophysical Journal: An International Review of Spectroscopy and Astronomical Physics.[21] It was intended that the journal would fill the gap between journals in astronomy and physics, providing a venue for publication of articles on astronomical applications of the spectroscope; on laboratory research closely allied to astronomical physics, including wavelength determinations of metallic and gaseous spectra and experiments on radiation and absorption; on theories of the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, meteors, and nebulae; and on instrumentation for telescopes and laboratories.[20]

Around 1920, following the discovery of the Hertsprung-Russell diagram still used as the basis for classifying stars and their evolution, Arthur Eddington anticipated the discovery and mechanism of nuclear fusion processes in stars, in his paper The Internal Constitution of the Stars.[22][23] At that time, the source of stellar energy was a complete mystery; Eddington correctly speculated that the source was fusion of hydrogen into helium, liberating enormous energy according to Einstein’s equation E = mc2. This was a particularly remarkable development since at that time fusion and thermonuclear energy, and even that stars are largely composed of hydrogen (see metallicity), had not yet been discovered.[non-primary source needed]

In 1925 Cecilia Helena Payne (later Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin) wrote an influential doctoral dissertation at Radcliffe College, in which she applied ionization theory to stellar atmospheres to relate the spectral classes to the temperature of stars.[24] Most significantly, she discovered that hydrogen and helium were the principal components of stars. Despite Eddington’s suggestion, this discovery was so unexpected that her dissertation readers convinced her to modify the conclusion before publication. However, later research confirmed her discovery.[25]

By the end of the 20th century, studies of astronomical spectra had expanded to cover wavelengths extending from radio waves through optical, x-ray, and gamma wavelengths.[26] In the 21st century it further expanded to include observations based on gravitational waves.

Observational astronomy is a division of the astronomical science that is concerned with recording data, in contrast with theoretical astrophysics, which is mainly concerned with finding out the measurable implications of physical models. It is the practice of observing celestial objects by using telescopes and other astronomical apparatus.

The majority of astrophysical observations are made using the electromagnetic spectrum.

Other than electromagnetic radiation, few things may be observed from the Earth that originate from great distances. A few gravitational wave observatories have been constructed, but gravitational waves are extremely difficult to detect. Neutrino observatories have also been built, primarily to study our Sun. Cosmic rays consisting of very high energy particles can be observed hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.

Observations can also vary in their time scale. Most optical observations take minutes to hours, so phenomena that change faster than this cannot readily be observed. However, historical data on some objects is available, spanning centuries or millennia. On the other hand, radio observations may look at events on a millisecond timescale (millisecond pulsars) or combine years of data (pulsar deceleration studies). The information obtained from these different timescales is very different.

The study of our very own Sun has a special place in observational astrophysics. Due to the tremendous distance of all other stars, the Sun can be observed in a kind of detail unparalleled by any other star. Our understanding of our own Sun serves as a guide to our understanding of other stars.

The topic of how stars change, or stellar evolution, is often modeled by placing the varieties of star types in their respective positions on the HertzsprungRussell diagram, which can be viewed as representing the state of a stellar object, from birth to destruction.

Theoretical astrophysicists use a wide variety of tools which include analytical models (for example, polytropes to approximate the behaviors of a star) and computational numerical simulations. Each has some advantages. Analytical models of a process are generally better for giving insight into the heart of what is going on. Numerical models can reveal the existence of phenomena and effects that would otherwise not be seen.[27][28]

Theorists in astrophysics endeavor to create theoretical models and figure out the observational consequences of those models. This helps allow observers to look for data that can refute a model or help in choosing between several alternate or conflicting models.

Theorists also try to generate or modify models to take into account new data. In the case of an inconsistency, the general tendency is to try to make minimal modifications to the model to fit the data. In some cases, a large amount of inconsistent data over time may lead to total abandonment of a model.

Topics studied by theoretical astrophysicists include: stellar dynamics and evolution; galaxy formation and evolution; magnetohydrodynamics; large-scale structure of matter in the universe; origin of cosmic rays; general relativity and physical cosmology, including string cosmology and astroparticle physics. Astrophysical relativity serves as a tool to gauge the properties of large scale structures for which gravitation plays a significant role in physical phenomena investigated and as the basis for black hole (astro)physics and the study of gravitational waves.

Some widely accepted and studied theories and models in astrophysics, now included in the Lambda-CDM model, are the Big Bang, cosmic inflation, dark matter, dark energy and fundamental theories of physics. Wormholes are examples of hypotheses which are yet to be proven (or disproven).

The roots of astrophysics can be found in the seventeenth century emergence of a unified physics, in which the same laws applied to the celestial and terrestrial realms.[10] There were scientists who were qualified in both physics and astronomy who laid the firm foundation for the current science of astrophysics. In modern times, students continue to be drawn to astrophysics due to its popularization by the Royal Astronomical Society and notable educators such as prominent professors Lawrence Krauss, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Stephen Hawking, Hubert Reeves, Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson. The efforts of the early, late, and present scientists continue to attract young people to study the history and science of astrophysics.[29][30][31]

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Astrophysics – Wikipedia

NASA Astrophysics | Science Mission Directorate

In the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), the Astrophysics division studies the universe.The science goals of the SMD Astrophysics Division are breathtaking: we seek to understand the universe and our place in it. We are starting to investigate the very moment of creation of the universe and are close to learning the full history of stars and galaxies. We are discovering how planetary systems form and how environments hospitable for life develop. And we will search for the signature of life on other worlds, perhaps to learn that we are not alone.

NASA’s goal in Astrophysics is to “Discover how the universe works, explore how it began and evolved, and search for life on planets around other stars.” Three broad scientific questions emanate from these goals.

Astrophysics comprises of three focused and two cross-cutting programs. These focused programs provide an intellectual framework for advancing science and conducting strategic planning. They include:

The Astrophysics current missions include three of the Great Observatories originally planned in the 1980s and launched over the past 27 years. The current suite of operational Great Observatories include the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Additionally, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope explores the high-energy end of the spectrum.Innovative Explorer missions, such as the Swift Gamma-ray Explorer and NuSTAR, as well as Mission of Opportunity NICER, complement the Astrophysics strategic missions. SOFIA, an airborne observatory for infrared astronomy, is in its operational phase and the Kepler mission is now actively engaged in K2 extended mission operations. All of the missions together account for much of humanity’s accumulated knowledge of the heavens. Many of these missions have achieved their prime science goals, but continue to produce spectacular results in their extended operations.

NASA-funded investigators also participate in observations, data analysis and developed instruments for the astrophysics missions of our international partners, including ESA’s XMM-Newton.

The near future will be dominated by several missions. Currently in development, with especially broad scientific utility, is the James Webb Space Telescope. Explorer mission TESS is also in development. TESS will provide an all-sky transit survey, identifying planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, orbiting a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances.Also in work are detectors for ESA’s Euclid mission.

Completing the missions in development, supporting the operational missions, and funding the research and analysis programs will consume most of the Astrophysics Division resources.

In February 2016, NASA formally started the top Astro2010 decadal recommendation, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). WFIRST will aid researchers in their efforts to unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and explore the evolution of the cosmos. It will also discover new worlds outside our solar system and advance the search for worlds that could be suitable for life.

In January 2017, NASA selected the new Small Explorer (SMEX) mission IXPE (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) which uses the polarization state of light from astrophysical sources to provide insight into our understanding of X-ray production in objects such as neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, as well as stellar and supermassive black holes.

In March 2017, NASA selected the Explorer Mission of Opportunity GUSTO (Galactic/Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory) to measure emissions from the interstellar medium to help scientists determine the life cycle of interstellar gas in our Milky Way, witness the formation and destruction of star-forming clouds, and understand the dynamics and gas flow in the vicinity of the center of our galaxy.

Since the 2001 decadal survey, the way the universe is viewed has changed dramatically. More than 3400 planets have been discovered orbiting distant stars. Black holes are now known to be present at the center of most galaxies, including the Milky Way galaxy. The age, size and shape of the universe have been mapped based on the primordial radiation left by the big bang. And it has been learned that most of the matter in the universe is dark and invisible, and the universe is not only expanding, but accelerating in an unexpected way.

For the long term future, the Astrophysics goals will be guided based on the results of the 2010 Decadal survey New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics. The priority science objectives chosen by the survey committee include: searching for the first stars, galaxies, and black holes; seeking nearby habitable planets; and advancing understanding of the fundamental physics of the universe.In 2016 the New Worlds, New Horizons: A Midterm Assessment was released.

In 2012 the Astrophysics Implementation Plan was released (updated in 2014 and again in 2016) which describes the activities currently being undertaken in response to the decadal survey recommendations within the current budgetary constraints.

The Astrophysics roadmap Enduring Quests, Daring Visions was developed by a task force of the Astrophysics Subcommittee (APS) in 2013. The Roadmap presents a 30-year vision for astrophysics using the most recent decadal survey as the starting point.

Work on the upcoming 2020 decadal survey has commenced. Please visit the “2020 Decadal Planning” page for additional information about the Large Mission and Probe Mission concept studies currently underway.

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NASA Astrophysics | Science Mission Directorate

Hedonism – Wikipedia

Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that pleasure and happiness are the primary or most important intrinsic goods and the aim of human life.[1] A hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain), but when having finally gained that pleasure, happiness remains stationary.

Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person’s pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.[2]

The name derives from the Greek word for “delight” ( hdonismos from hdon “pleasure”, cognate[according to whom?] with English sweet + suffix – -ismos “ism”). An extremely strong aversion to hedonism is hedonophobia.

In the original Old Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written soon after the invention of writing, Siduri gave the following advice “Fill your belly. Day and night make merry. Let days be full of joy. Dance and make music day and night […] These things alone are the concern of men”, which may represent the first recorded advocacy of a hedonistic philosophy.[3]

Scenes of a harper entertaining guests at a feast were common in ancient Egyptian tombs (see Harper’s Songs), and sometimes contained hedonistic elements, calling guests to submit to pleasure because they cannot be sure that they will be rewarded for good with a blissful afterlife. The following is a song attributed to the reign of one of the pharaohs around the time of the 12th dynasty, and the text was used in the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties.[4][5]

Let thy desire flourish,In order to let thy heart forget the beatifications for thee.Follow thy desire, as long as thou shalt live.Put myrrh upon thy head and clothing of fine linen upon thee,Being anointed with genuine marvels of the gods’ property.Set an increase to thy good things;Let not thy heart flag.Follow thy desire and thy good.Fulfill thy needs upon earth, after the command of thy heart,Until there come for thee that day of mourning.

Democritus seems to be the earliest philosopher on record to have categorically embraced a hedonistic philosophy; he called the supreme goal of life “contentment” or “cheerfulness”, claiming that “joy and sorrow are the distinguishing mark of things beneficial and harmful” (DK 68 B 188).[6]

The Cyrenaics were an ultra-hedonist Greek school of philosophy founded in the 4th century BC, supposedly by Aristippus of Cyrene, although many of the principles of the school are believed to have been formalized by his grandson of the same name, Aristippus the Younger. The school was so called after Cyrene, the birthplace of Aristippus. It was one of the earliest Socratic schools. The Cyrenaics taught that the only intrinsic good is pleasure, which meant not just the absence of pain, but positively enjoyable sensations. Of these, momentary pleasures, especially physical ones, are stronger than those of anticipation or memory. They did, however, recognize the value of social obligation, and that pleasure could be gained from altruism[citation needed]. Theodorus the Atheist was a latter exponent of hedonism who was a disciple of younger Aristippus,[7] while becoming well known for expounding atheism. The school died out within a century, and was replaced by Epicureanism.

The Cyrenaics were known for their skeptical theory of knowledge. They reduced logic to a basic doctrine concerning the criterion of truth.[8] They thought that we can know with certainty our immediate sense-experiences (for instance, that I am having a sweet sensation now) but can know nothing about the nature of the objects that cause these sensations (for instance, that the honey is sweet).[9] They also denied that we can have knowledge of what the experiences of other people are like.[10] All knowledge is immediate sensation. These sensations are motions which are purely subjective, and are painful, indifferent or pleasant, according as they are violent, tranquil or gentle.[9][11] Further they are entirely individual, and can in no way be described as constituting absolute objective knowledge. Feeling, therefore, is the only possible criterion of knowledge and of conduct.[9] Our ways of being affected are alone knowable. Thus the sole aim for everyone should be pleasure.

Cyrenaicism deduces a single, universal aim for all people which is pleasure. Furthermore, all feeling is momentary and homogeneous. It follows that past and future pleasure have no real existence for us, and that among present pleasures there is no distinction of kind.[11] Socrates had spoken of the higher pleasures of the intellect; the Cyrenaics denied the validity of this distinction and said that bodily pleasures, being more simple and more intense, were preferable.[12] Momentary pleasure, preferably of a physical kind, is the only good for humans. However some actions which give immediate pleasure can create more than their equivalent of pain. The wise person should be in control of pleasures rather than be enslaved to them, otherwise pain will result, and this requires judgement to evaluate the different pleasures of life.[13] Regard should be paid to law and custom, because even though these things have no intrinsic value on their own, violating them will lead to unpleasant penalties being imposed by others.[12] Likewise, friendship and justice are useful because of the pleasure they provide.[12] Thus the Cyrenaics believed in the hedonistic value of social obligation and altruistic behaviour.

Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c. 341c. 270 BC), founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus and Leucippus. His materialism led him to a general stance against superstition or the idea of divine intervention. Following Aristippusabout whom very little is knownEpicurus believed that the greatest good was to seek modest, sustainable “pleasure” in the form of a state of tranquility and freedom from fear (ataraxia) and absence of bodily pain (aponia) through knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of our desires. The combination of these two states is supposed to constitute happiness in its highest form. Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism, insofar as it declares pleasure as the sole intrinsic good, its conception of absence of pain as the greatest pleasure and its advocacy of a simple life make it different from “hedonism” as it is commonly understood.

In the Epicurean view, the highest pleasure (tranquility and freedom from fear) was obtained by knowledge, friendship and living a virtuous and temperate life. He lauded the enjoyment of simple pleasures, by which he meant abstaining from bodily desires, such as sex and appetites, verging on asceticism. He argued that when eating, one should not eat too richly, for it could lead to dissatisfaction later, such as the grim realization that one could not afford such delicacies in the future. Likewise, sex could lead to increased lust and dissatisfaction with the sexual partner. Epicurus did not articulate a broad system of social ethics that has survived but had a unique version of the Golden Rule.

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing “neither to harm nor be harmed”),[14] and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.[15]

Epicureanism was originally a challenge to Platonism, though later it became the main opponent of Stoicism. Epicurus and his followers shunned politics. After the death of Epicurus, his school was headed by Hermarchus; later many Epicurean societies flourished in the Late Hellenistic era and during the Roman era (such as those in Antiochia, Alexandria, Rhodes and Ercolano). The poet Lucretius is its most known Roman proponent. By the end of the Roman Empire, having undergone Christian attack and repression, Epicureanism had all but died out, and would be resurrected in the 17th century by the atomist Pierre Gassendi, who adapted it to the Christian doctrine.

Some writings by Epicurus have survived. Some scholars consider the epic poem On the Nature of Things by Lucretius to present in one unified work the core arguments and theories of Epicureanism. Many of the papyrus scrolls unearthed at the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum are Epicurean texts. At least some are thought to have belonged to the Epicurean Philodemus.

Yangism has been described as a form of psychological and ethical egoism. The Yangist philosophers believed in the importance of maintaining self-interest through “keeping one’s nature intact, protecting one’s uniqueness, and not letting the body be tied by other things.” Disagreeing with the Confucian virtues of li (propriety), ren (humaneness), and yi (righteousness) and the Legalist virtue of fa (law), the Yangists saw wei wo, or “everything for myself,” as the only virtue necessary for self-cultivation. Individual pleasure is considered desirable, like in hedonism, but not at the expense of the health of the individual. The Yangists saw individual well-being as the prime purpose of life, and considered anything that hindered that well-being immoral and unnecessary.

The main focus of the Yangists was on the concept of xing, or human nature, a term later incorporated by Mencius into Confucianism. The xing, according to sinologist A. C. Graham, is a person’s “proper course of development” in life. Individuals can only rationally care for their own xing, and should not naively have to support the xing of other people, even if it means opposing the emperor. In this sense, Yangism is a “direct attack” on Confucianism, by implying that the power of the emperor, defended in Confucianism, is baseless and destructive, and that state intervention is morally flawed.

The Confucian philosopher Mencius depicts Yangism as the direct opposite of Mohism, while Mohism promotes the idea of universal love and impartial caring, the Yangists acted only “for themselves,” rejecting the altruism of Mohism. He criticized the Yangists as selfish, ignoring the duty of serving the public and caring only for personal concerns. Mencius saw Confucianism as the “Middle Way” between Mohism and Yangism.

Judaism believes that mankind was created for pleasure, as God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of EdenEden being the Hebrew word for “pleasure.” In recent years, Rabbi Noah Weinberg articulated five different levels of pleasure; connecting with God is the highest possible pleasure.

Christian doctrine current in some evangelical circles, particularly those of the Reformed tradition.[16] The term was first coined by Reformed Baptist theologian John Piper in his 1986 book Desiring God: My shortest summary of it is: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Or: The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Does Christian Hedonism make a god out of pleasure? No. It says that we all make a god out of what we take most pleasure in. [16] Piper states his term may describe the theology of Jonathan Edwards, who referred to a future enjoyment of him [God] in heaven.[17] In the 17th century, the atomist Pierre Gassendi adapted Epicureanism to the Christian doctrine.

The concept of hedonism is also found in the Hindu scriptures.[18][19]

Utilitarianism addresses problems with moral motivation neglected by Kantianism by giving a central role to happiness. It is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall good of the society.[20] It is thus one form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome. The most influential contributors to this theory are considered to be the 18th and 19th-century British philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Conjoining hedonismas a view as to what is good for peopleto utilitarianism has the result that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest total amount of happiness (see Hedonic calculus). Though consistent in their pursuit of happiness, Bentham and Mill’s versions of hedonism differ. There are two somewhat basic schools of thought on hedonism:[1]

Contemporary proponents of hedonism include Swedish philosopher Torbjrn Tnnsj,[21] Fred Feldman.[22] and Spanish ethic philosopher Esperanza Guisn (published a “Hedonist manifesto” in 1990).[23]

A dedicated contemporary hedonist philosopher and writer on the history of hedonistic thought is the French Michel Onfray. He has written two books directly on the subject (L’invention du plaisir: fragments cyraniques[24] and La puissance d’exister: Manifeste hdoniste).[25] He defines hedonism “as an introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without harming yourself or anyone else.”[26] Onfray’s philosophical project is to define an ethical hedonism, a joyous utilitarianism, and a generalized aesthetic of sensual materialism that explores how to use the brain’s and the body’s capacities to their fullest extent — while restoring philosophy to a useful role in art, politics, and everyday life and decisions.”[27]

Onfray’s works “have explored the philosophical resonances and components of (and challenges to) science, painting, gastronomy, sex and sensuality, bioethics, wine, and writing. His most ambitious project is his projected six-volume Counter-history of Philosophy,”[27] of which three have been published. For him “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.”[28] 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.”[29]

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 and he 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[30] 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”.[31] A transhumanist and a vegan,[32] 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 David Pearce gave at the Future of Humanity Institute and at the Charity International ‘Happiness Conference’ he said “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[citation needed] 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.”[33]

Russian physicist and philosopher Victor Argonov argues that hedonism is not only a philosophical but also a verifiable scientific hypothesis. In 2014 he suggested “postulates of pleasure principle” confirmation of which would lead to a new scientific discipline, 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.[34] 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).[35] 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, in average, they can become 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.

Critics of hedonism have objected to its exclusive concentration on pleasure as valuable.

In particular, G. E. Moore offered a thought experiment in criticism of pleasure as the sole bearer of value: he imagined two worldsone 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.[36]

In Quran, God admonished mankind not to love the worldly pleasures, since it is related with greedy and source of sinful habit. He also threatened those who prefer worldly life rather than hereafter with Hell.

Those who choose the worldly life and its pleasures will be given proper recompense for their deeds in this life and will not suffer any loss. Such people will receive nothing in the next life except Hell fire. Their deeds will be made devoid of all virtue and their efforts will be in vain.

“Hedonism”. Encyclopdia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.

Read the original here:

Hedonism – Wikipedia

Hedonism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The term “hedonism,” from the Greek word (hdon) for pleasure, refers to several related theories about what is good for us, how we should behave, and what motivates us to behave in the way that we do. All hedonistic theories identify pleasure and pain as the only important elements of whatever phenomena they are designed to describe. If hedonistic theories identified pleasure and pain as merely two important elements, instead of the only important elements of what they are describing, then they would not be nearly as unpopular as they all are. However, the claim that pleasure and pain are the only things of ultimate importance is what makes hedonism distinctive and philosophically interesting.

Philosophical hedonists tend to focus on hedonistic theories of value, and especially of well-being (the good life for the one living it). As a theory of value, hedonism states that all and only pleasure is intrinsically valuable and all and only pain is intrinsically not valuable. Hedonists usually define pleasure and pain broadly, such that both physical and mental phenomena are included. Thus, a gentle massage and recalling a fond memory are both considered to cause pleasure and stubbing a toe and hearing about the death of a loved one are both considered to cause pain. With pleasure and pain so defined, hedonism as a theory about what is valuable for us is intuitively appealing. Indeed, its appeal is evidenced by the fact that nearly all historical and contemporary treatments of well-being allocate at least some space for discussion of hedonism. Unfortunately for hedonism, the discussions rarely endorse it and some even deplore its focus on pleasure.

This article begins by clarifying the different types of hedonistic theories and the labels they are often given. Then, hedonisms ancient origins and its subsequent development are reviewed. The majority of this article is concerned with describing the important theoretical divisions within Prudential Hedonism and discussing the major criticisms of these approaches.

When the term “hedonism” is used in modern literature, or by non-philosophers in their everyday talk, its meaning is quite different from the meaning it takes when used in the discussions of philosophers. Non-philosophers tend to think of a hedonist as a person who seeks out pleasure for themselves without any particular regard for their own future well-being or for the well-being of others. According to non-philosophers, then, a stereotypical hedonist is someone who never misses an opportunity to indulge of the pleasures of sex, drugs, and rock n roll, even if the indulgences are likely to lead to relationship problems, health problems, regrets, or sadness for themselves or others. Philosophers commonly refer to this everyday understanding of hedonism as “Folk Hedonism.” Folk Hedonism is a rough combination of Motivational Hedonism, Hedonistic Egoism, and a reckless lack of foresight.

When philosophers discuss hedonism, they are most likely to be referring to hedonism about value, and especially the slightly more specific theory, hedonism about well-being. Hedonism as a theory about value (best referred to as Value Hedonism) holds that all and only pleasure is intrinsically valuable and all and only pain is intrinsically disvaluable. The term “intrinsically” is an important part of the definition and is best understood in contrast to the term “instrumentally.” Something is intrinsically valuable if it is valuable for its own sake. Pleasure is thought to be intrinsically valuable because, even if it did not lead to any other benefit, it would still be good to experience. Money is an example of an instrumental good; its value for us comes from what we can do with it (what we can buy with it). The fact that a copious amount of money has no value if no one ever sells anything reveals that money lacks intrinsic value. Value Hedonism reduces everything of value to pleasure. For example, a Value Hedonist would explain the instrumental value of money by describing how the things we can buy with money, such as food, shelter, and status-signifying goods, bring us pleasure or help us to avoid pain.

Hedonism as a theory about well-being (best referred to as Prudential Hedonism) is more specific than Value Hedonism because it stipulates what the value is for. Prudential Hedonism holds that all and only pleasure intrinsically makes peoples lives go better for them and all and only pain intrinsically makes their lives go worse for them. Some philosophers replace “people” with “animals” or “sentient creatures,” so as to apply Prudential Hedonism more widely. A good example of this comes from Peter Singers work on animals and ethics. Singer questions why some humans can see the intrinsic disvalue in human pain, but do not also accept that it is bad for sentient non-human animals to experience pain.

When Prudential Hedonists claim that happiness is what they value most, they intend happiness to be understood as a preponderance of pleasure over pain. An important distinction between Prudential Hedonism and Folk Hedonism is that Prudential Hedonists usually understand that pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain in the very short-term is not always the best strategy for achieving the best long-term balance of pleasure over pain.

Prudential Hedonism is an integral part of several derivative types of hedonistic theory, all of which have featured prominently in philosophical debates of the past. Since Prudential Hedonism plays this important role, the majority of this article is dedicated to Prudential Hedonism. First, however, the main derivative types of hedonism are briefly discussed.

Motivational Hedonism (more commonly referred to by the less descriptive label, “Psychological Hedonism”) is the theory that the desires to encounter pleasure and to avoid pain guide all of our behavior. Most accounts of Motivational Hedonism include both conscious and unconscious desires for pleasure, but emphasize the latter. Epicurus, William James, Sigmund Freud, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and (on one interpretation) even Charles Darwin have all argued for varieties of Motivational Hedonism. Bentham used the idea to support his theory of Hedonistic Utilitarianism (discussed below). Weak versions of Motivational Hedonism hold that the desires to seek pleasure and avoid pain often or always have some influence on our behavior. Weak versions are generally considered to be uncontroversially true and not especially useful for philosophy.

Philosophers have been more interested in strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism, which hold that all behavior is governed by the desires to encounter pleasure and to avoid pain (and only those desires). Strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism have been used to support some of the normative types of hedonism and to argue against non-hedonistic normative theories. One of the most notable mentions of Motivational Hedonism is Platos Ring of Gyges example in The Republic. Platos Socrates is discussing with Glaucon how men would react if they were to possess a ring that gives its wearer immense powers, including invisibility. Glaucon believes that a strong version of Motivational Hedonism is true, but Socrates does not. Glaucon asserts that, emboldened with the power provided by the Ring of Gyges, everyone would succumb to the inherent and ubiquitous desire to pursue their own ends at the expense of others. Socrates disagrees, arguing that good people would be able to overcome this desire because of their strong love of justice, fostered through philosophising.

Strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism currently garner very little support for similar reasons. Many examples of seemingly-pain-seeking acts performed out of a sense of duty are well-known from the soldier who jumps on a grenade to save his comrades to that time you rescued a trapped dog only to be (predictably) bitten in the process. Introspective evidence also weighs against strong accounts of Motivational Hedonism; many of the decisions we make seem to be based on motives other than seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Given these reasons, the burden of proof is considered to be squarely on the shoulders of anyone wishing to argue for a strong account of Motivational Hedonism.

Value Hedonism, occasionally with assistance from Motivational Hedonism, has been used to argue for specific theories of right action (theories that explain which actions are morally permissible or impermissible and why). The theory that happiness should be pursued (that pleasure should be pursued and pain should be avoided) is referred to as Normative Hedonism and sometimes Ethical Hedonism. There are two major types of Normative Hedonism, Hedonistic Egoism and Hedonistic Utilitarianism. Both types commonly use happiness (defined as pleasure minus pain) as the sole criterion for determining the moral rightness or wrongness of an action. Important variations within each of these two main types specify either the actual resulting happiness (after the act) or the predicted resulting happiness (before the act) as the moral criterion. Although both major types of Normative Hedonism have been accused of being repugnant, Hedonistic Egoism is considered the most offensive.

Hedonistic Egoism is a hedonistic version of egoism, the theory that we should, morally speaking, do whatever is most in our own interests. Hedonistic Egoism is the theory that we ought, morally speaking, to do whatever makes us happiest that is whatever provides us with the most net pleasure after pain is subtracted. The most repugnant feature of this theory is that one never has to ascribe any value whatsoever to the consequences for anyone other than oneself. For example, a Hedonistic Egoist who did not feel saddened by theft would be morally required to steal, even from needy orphans (if he thought he could get away with it). Would-be defenders of Hedonistic Egoism often point out that performing acts of theft, murder, treachery and the like would not make them happier overall because of the guilt, the fear of being caught, and the chance of being caught and punished. The would-be defenders tend to surrender, however, when it is pointed out that a Hedonistic Egoist is morally obliged by their own theory to pursue an unusual kind of practical education; a brief and possibly painful training period that reduces their moral emotions of sympathy and guilt. Such an education might be achieved by desensitising over-exposure to, and performance of, torture on innocents. If Hedonistic Egoists underwent such an education, their reduced capacity for sympathy and guilt would allow them to take advantage of any opportunities to perform pleasurable, but normally-guilt-inducing, actions, such as stealing from the poor.

Hedonistic Egoism is very unpopular amongst philosophers, not just for this reason, but also because it suffers from all of the objections that apply to Prudential Hedonism.

Hedonistic Utilitarianism is the theory that the right action is the one that produces (or is most likely to produce) the greatest net happiness for all concerned. Hedonistic Utilitarianism is often considered fairer than Hedonistic Egoism because the happiness of everyone involved (everyone who is affected or likely to be affected) is taken into account and given equal weight. Hedonistic Utilitarians, then, tend to advocate not stealing from needy orphans because to do so would usually leave the orphan far less happy and the (probably better-off) thief only slightly happier (assuming he felt no guilt). Despite treating all individuals equally, Hedonistic Utilitarianism is still seen as objectionable by some because it assigns no intrinsic moral value to justice, friendship, truth, or any of the many other goods that are thought by some to be irreducibly valuable. For example, a Hedonistic Utilitarian would be morally obliged to publicly execute an innocent friend of theirs if doing so was the only way to promote the greatest happiness overall. Although unlikely, such a situation might arise if a child was murdered in a small town and the lack of suspects was causing large-scale inter-ethnic violence. Some philosophers argue that executing an innocent friend is immoral precisely because it ignores the intrinsic values of justice, friendship, and possibly truth.

Hedonistic Utilitarianism is rarely endorsed by philosophers, but mainly because of its reliance on Prudential Hedonism as opposed to its utilitarian element. Non-hedonistic versions of utilitarianism are about as popular as the other leading theories of right action, especially when it is the actions of institutions that are being considered.

Perhaps the earliest written record of hedonism comes from the Crvka, an Indian philosophical tradition based on the Barhaspatya sutras. The Crvka persisted for two thousand years (from about 600 B.C.E.). Most notably, the Crvka advocated scepticism and Hedonistic Egoism that the right action is the one that brings the actor the most net pleasure. The Crvka acknowledged that some pain often accompanied, or was later caused by, sensual pleasure, but that pleasure was worth it.

The Cyrenaics, founded by Aristippus (c. 435-356 B.C.E.), were also sceptics and Hedonistic Egoists. Although the paucity of original texts makes it difficult to confidently state all of the justifications for the Cyrenaics positions, their overall stance is clear enough. The Cyrenaics believed pleasure was the ultimate good and everyone should pursue all immediate pleasures for themselves. They considered bodily pleasures better than mental pleasures, presumably because they were more vivid or trustworthy. The Cyrenaics also recommended pursuing immediate pleasures and avoiding immediate pains with scant or no regard for future consequences. Their reasoning for this is even less clear, but is most plausibly linked to their sceptical views perhaps that what we can be most sure of in this uncertain existence is our current bodily pleasures.

Epicurus (c. 341-271 B.C.E.), founder of Epicureanism, developed a Normative Hedonism in stark contrast to that of Aristippus. The Epicureanism of Epicurus is also quite the opposite to the common usage of Epicureanism; while we might like to go on a luxurious “Epicurean” holiday packed with fine dining and moderately excessive wining, Epicurus would warn us that we are only setting ourselves up for future pain. For Epicurus, happiness was the complete absence of bodily and especially mental pains, including fear of the Gods and desires for anything other than the bare necessities of life. Even with only the limited excesses of ancient Greece on offer, Epicurus advised his followers to avoid towns, and especially marketplaces, in order to limit the resulting desires for unnecessary things. Once we experience unnecessary pleasures, such as those from sex and rich food, we will then suffer from painful and hard to satisfy desires for more and better of the same. No matter how wealthy we might be, Epicurus would argue, our desires will eventually outstrip our means and interfere with our ability to live tranquil, happy lives. Epicureanism is generally egoistic, in that it encourages everyone to pursue happiness for themselves. However, Epicureans would be unlikely to commit any of the selfish acts we might expect from other egoists because Epicureans train themselves to desire only the very basics, which gives them very little reason to do anything to interfere with the affairs of others.

With the exception of a brief period discussed below, Hedonism has been generally unpopular ever since its ancient beginnings. Although criticisms of the ancient forms of hedonism were many and varied, one in particular was heavily cited. In Philebus, Platos Socrates and one of his many foils, Protarchus in this instance, are discussing the role of pleasure in the good life. Socrates asks Protarchus to imagine a life without much pleasure but full of the higher cognitive processes, such as knowledge, forethought and consciousness and to compare it with a life that is the opposite. Socrates describes this opposite life as having perfect pleasure but the mental life of an oyster, pointing out that the subject of such a life would not be able to appreciate any of the pleasure within it. The harrowing thought of living the pleasurable but unthinking life of an oyster causes Protarchus to abandon his hedonistic argument. The oyster example is now easily avoided by clarifying that pleasure is best understood as being a conscious experience, so any sensation that we are not consciously aware of cannot be pleasure.

Normative and Motivational Hedonism were both at their most popular during the heyday of Empiricism in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Indeed, this is the only period during which any kind of hedonism could be considered popular at all. During this period, two Hedonistic Utilitarians, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and his protg John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), were particularly influential. Their theories are similar in many ways, but are notably distinct on the nature of pleasure.

Bentham argued for several types of hedonism, including those now referred to as Prudential Hedonism, Hedonistic Utilitarianism, and Motivational Hedonism (although his commitment to strong Motivational Hedonism eventually began to wane). Bentham argued that happiness was the ultimate good and that happiness was pleasure and the absence of pain. He acknowledged the egoistic and hedonistic nature of peoples motivation, but argued that the maximization of collective happiness was the correct criterion for moral behavior. Benthams greatest happiness principle states that actions are immoral if they are not the action that appears to maximise the happiness of all the people likely to be affected; only the action that appears to maximise the happiness of all the people likely to be affected is the morally right action.

Bentham devised the greatest happiness principle to justify the legal reforms he also argued for. He understood that he could not conclusively prove that the principle was the correct criterion for morally right action, but also thought that it should be accepted because it was fair and better than existing criteria for evaluating actions and legislation. Bentham thought that his Hedonic Calculus could be applied to situations to see what should, morally speaking, be done in a situation. The Hedonic Calculus is a method of counting the amount of pleasure and pain that would likely be caused by different actions. The Hedonic Calculus required a methodology for measuring pleasure, which in turn required an understanding of the nature of pleasure and specifically what aspects of pleasure were valuable for us.

Benthams Hedonic Calculus identifies several aspects of pleasure that contribute to its value, including certainty, propinquity, extent, intensity, and duration. The Hedonic Calculus also makes use of two future-pleasure-or-pain-related aspects of actions fecundity and purity. Certainty refers to the likelihood that the pleasure or pain will occur. Propinquity refers to how long away (in terms of time) the pleasure or pain is. Fecundity refers to the likelihood of the pleasure or pain leading to more of the same sensation. Purity refers to the likelihood of the pleasure or pain leading to some of the opposite sensation. Extent refers to the number of people the pleasure or pain is likely to affect. Intensity refers to the felt strength of the pleasure or pain. Duration refers to how long the pleasure or pain are felt for. It should be noted that only intensity and duration have intrinsic value for an individual. Certainty, propinquity, fecundity, and purity are all instrumentally valuable for an individual because they affect the likelihood of an individual feeling future pleasure and pain. Extent is not directly valuable for an individuals well-being because it refers to the likelihood of other people experiencing pleasure or pain.

Benthams inclusion of certainty, propinquity, fecundity, and purity in the Hedonic Calculus helps to differentiate his hedonism from Folk Hedonism. Folk Hedonists rarely consider how likely their actions are to lead to future pleasure or pain, focussing instead on the pursuit of immediate pleasure and the avoidance of immediate pain. So while Folk Hedonists would be unlikely to study for an exam, anyone using Benthams Hedonic Calculus would consider the future happiness benefits to themselves (and possibly others) of passing the exam and then promptly begin studying.

Most importantly for Benthams Hedonic Calculus, the pleasure from different sources is always measured against these criteria in the same way, that is to say that no additional value is afforded to pleasures from particularly moral, clean, or culturally-sophisticated sources. For example, Bentham held that pleasure from the parlor game push-pin was just as valuable for us as pleasure from music and poetry. Since Benthams theory of Prudential Hedonism focuses on the quantity of the pleasure, rather than the source-derived quality of it, it is best described as a type of Quantitative Hedonism.

Benthams indifferent stance on the source of pleasures led to others disparaging his hedonism as the philosophy of swine. Even his student, John Stuart Mill, questioned whether we should believe that a satisfied pig leads a better life than a dissatisfied human or that a satisfied fool leads a better life than a dissatisfied Socrates results that Benthams Quantitative Hedonism seems to endorse.

Like Bentham, Mill endorsed the varieties of hedonism now referred to as Prudential Hedonism, Hedonistic Utilitarianism, and Motivational Hedonism. Mill also thought happiness, defined as pleasure and the avoidance of pain, was the highest good. Where Mills hedonism differs from Benthams is in his understanding of the nature of pleasure. Mill argued that pleasures could vary in quality, being either higher or lower pleasures. Mill employed the distinction between higher and lower pleasures in an attempt to avoid the criticism that his hedonism was just another philosophy of swine. Lower pleasures are those associated with the body, which we share with other animals, such as pleasure from quenching thirst or having sex. Higher pleasures are those associated with the mind, which were thought to be unique to humans, such as pleasure from listening to opera, acting virtuously, and philosophising. Mill justified this distinction by arguing that those who have experienced both types of pleasure realise that higher pleasures are much more valuable. He dismissed challenges to this claim by asserting that those who disagreed lacked either the experience of higher pleasures or the capacity for such experiences. For Mill, higher pleasures were not different from lower pleasures by mere degree; they were different in kind. Since Mills theory of Prudential Hedonism focuses on the quality of the pleasure, rather than the amount of it, it is best described as a type of Qualitative Hedonism.

George Edward Moore (1873-1958) was instrumental in bringing hedonisms brief heyday to an end. Moores criticisms of hedonism in general, and Mills hedonism in particular, were frequently cited as good reasons to reject hedonism even decades after his death. Indeed, since G. E. Moore, hedonism has been viewed by most philosophers as being an initially intuitive and interesting family of theories, but also one that is flawed on closer inspection. Moore was a pluralist about value and argued persuasively against the Value Hedonists central claim that all and only pleasure is the bearer of intrinsic value. Moores most damaging objection against Hedonism was his heap of filth example. Moore himself thought the heap of filth example thoroughly refuted what he saw as the only potentially viable form of Prudential Hedonism that conscious pleasure is the only thing that positively contributes to well-being. Moore used the heap of filth example to argue that Prudential Hedonism is false because pleasure is not the only thing of value.

In the heap of filth example, Moore asks the reader to imagine two worlds, one of which is exceedingly beautiful and the other a disgusting heap of filth. Moore then instructs the reader to imagine that no one would ever experience either world and asks if it is better for the beautiful world to exist than the filthy one. As Moore expected, his contemporaries tended to agree that it would be better if the beautiful world existed. Relying on this agreement, Moore infers that the beautiful world is more valuable than the heap of filth and, therefore, that beauty must be valuable. Moore then concluded that all of the potentially viable theories of Prudential Hedonism (those that value only conscious pleasures) must be false because something, namely beauty, is valuable even when no conscious pleasure can be derived from it.

Moores heap of filth example has rarely been used to object to Prudential Hedonism since the 1970s because it is not directly relevant to Prudential Hedonism (it evaluates worlds and not lives). Moores other objections to Prudential Hedonism also went out of favor around the same time. The demise of these arguments was partly due to mounting objections against them, but mainly because arguments more suited to the task of refuting Prudential Hedonism were developed. These arguments are discussed after the contemporary varieties of hedonism are introduced below.

Several contemporary varieties of hedonism have been defended, although usually by just a handful of philosophers or less at any one time. Other varieties of hedonism are also theoretically available but have received little or no discussion. Contemporary varieties of Prudential Hedonism can be grouped based on how they define pleasure and pain, as is done below. In addition to providing different notions of what pleasure and pain are, contemporary varieties of Prudential Hedonism also disagree about what aspect or aspects of pleasure are valuable for well-being (and the opposite for pain).

The most well-known disagreement about what aspects of pleasure are valuable occurs between Quantitative and Qualitative Hedonists. Quantitative Hedonists argue that how valuable pleasure is for well-being depends on only the amount of pleasure, and so they are only concerned with dimensions of pleasure such as duration and intensity. Quantitative Hedonism is often accused of over-valuing animalistic, simple, and debauched pleasures.

Qualitative Hedonists argue that, in addition to the dimensions related to the amount of pleasure, one or more dimensions of quality can have an impact on how pleasure affects well-being. The quality dimensions might be based on how cognitive or bodily the pleasure is (as it was for Mill), the moral status of the source of the pleasure, or some other non-amount-related dimension. Qualitative Hedonism is criticised by some for smuggling values other than pleasure into well-being by misleadingly labelling them as dimensions of pleasure. How these qualities are chosen for inclusion is also criticised for being arbitrary or ad hoc by some because inclusion of these dimensions of pleasure is often in direct response to objections that Quantitative Hedonism cannot easily deal with. That is to say, the inclusion of these dimensions is often accused of being an exercise in plastering over holes, rather than deducing corollary conclusions from existing theoretical premises. Others have argued that any dimensions of quality can be better explained in terms of dimensions of quantity. For example, they might claim that moral pleasures are no higher in quality than immoral pleasures, but that moral pleasures are instrumentally more valuable because they are likely to lead to more moments of pleasure or less moments of pain in the future.

Hedonists also have differing views about how the value of pleasure compares with the value of pain. This is not a practical disagreement about how best to measure pleasure and pain, but rather a theoretical disagreement about comparative value, such as whether pain is worse for us than an equivalent amount of pleasure is good for us. The default position is that one unit of pleasure (sometimes referred to as a Hedon) is equivalent but opposite in value to one unit of pain (sometimes referred to as a Dolor). Several Hedonistic Utilitarians have argued that reduction of pain should be seen as more important than increasing pleasure, sometimes for the Epicurean reason that pain seems worse for us than an equivalent amount of pleasure is good for us. Imagine that a magical genie offered for you to play a game with him. The game consists of you flipping a fair coin. If the coin lands on heads, then you immediately feel a burst of very intense pleasure and if it lands on tails, then you immediately feel a burst of very intense pain. Is it in your best interests to play the game?

Another area of disagreement between some Hedonists is whether pleasure is entirely internal to a person or if it includes external elements. Internalism about pleasure is the thesis that, whatever pleasure is, it is always and only inside a person. Externalism about pleasure, on the other hand, is the thesis that, pleasure is more than just a state of an individual (that is, that a necessary component of pleasure lies outside of the individual). Externalists about pleasure might, for example, describe pleasure as a function that mediates between our minds and the environment, such that every instance of pleasure has one or more integral environmental components. The vast majority of historic and contemporary versions of Prudential Hedonism consider pleasure to be an internal mental state.

Perhaps the least known disagreement about what aspects of pleasure make it valuable is the debate about whether we have to be conscious of pleasure for it to be valuable. The standard position is that pleasure is a conscious mental state, or at least that any pleasure a person is not conscious of does not intrinsically improve their well-being.

The most common definition of pleasure is that it is a sensation, something that we identify through our senses or that we feel. Psychologists claim that we have at least ten senses, including the familiar, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, but also, movement, balance, and several sub-senses of touch, including heat, cold, pressure, and pain. New senses get added to the list when it is understood that some independent physical process underpins their functioning. The most widely-used examples of pleasurable sensations are the pleasures of eating, drinking, listening to music, and having sex. Use of these examples has done little to help Hedonism avoid its debauched reputation.

It is also commonly recognised that our senses are physical processes that usually involve a mental component, such as the tickling feeling when someone blows gently on the back of your neck. If a sensation is something we identify through our sense organs, however, it is not entirely clear how to account for abstract pleasures. This is because abstract pleasures, such as a feeling of accomplishment for a job well done, do not seem to be experienced through any of the senses in the standard lists. Some Hedonists have attempted to resolve this problem by arguing for the existence of an independent pleasure sense and by defining sensation as something that we feel (regardless of whether it has been mediated by sense organs).

Most Hedonists who describe pleasure as a sensation will be Quantitative Hedonists and will argue that the pleasure from the different senses is the same. Qualitative Hedonists, in comparison, can use the framework of the senses to help differentiate between qualities of pleasure. For example, a Qualitative Hedonist might argue that pleasurable sensations from touch and movement are always lower quality than the others.

Hedonists have also defined pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience, that is to say any experiences that we find intrinsically valuable either are, or include, instances of pleasure. According to this definition, the reason that listening to music and eating a fine meal are both intrinsically pleasurable is because those experiences include an element of pleasure (along with the other elements specific to each activity, such as the experience of the texture of the food and the melody of the music). By itself, this definition enables Hedonists to make an argument that is close to perfectly circular. Defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience and well-being as all and only experiences that are intrinsically valuable allows a Hedonist to all but stipulate that Prudential Hedonism is the correct theory of well-being. Where defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience is not circular is in its stipulation that only experiences matter for well-being. Some well-known objections to this idea are discussed below.

Another problem with defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience is that the definition does not tell us very much about what pleasure is or how it can be identified. For example, knowing that pleasure is intrinsically valuable experience would not help someone to work out if a particular experience was intrinsically or just instrumentally valuable. Hedonists have attempted to respond to this problem by explaining how to find out whether an experience is intrinsically valuable.

One method is to ask yourself if you would like the experience to continue for its own sake (rather than because of what it might lead to). Wanting an experience to continue for its own sake reveals that you find it to be intrinsically valuable. While still making a coherent theory of well-being, defining intrinsically valuable experiences as those you want to perpetuate makes the theory much less hedonistic. The fact that what a person wants is the main criterion for something having intrinsic value, makes this kind of theory more in line with preference satisfaction theories of well-being. The central claim of preference satisfaction theories of well-being is that some variant of getting what one wants, or should want, under certain conditions is the only thing that intrinsically improves ones well-being.

Another method of fleshing out the definition of pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience is to describe how intrinsically valuable experiences feel. This method remains a hedonistic one, but seems to fall back into defining pleasure as a sensation.

It has also been argued that what makes an experience intrinsically valuable is that you like or enjoy it for its own sake. Hedonists arguing for this definition of pleasure usually take pains to position their definition in between the realms of sensation and preference satisfaction. They argue that since we can like or enjoy some experiences without concurrently wanting them or feeling any particular sensation, then liking is distinct from both sensation and preference satisfaction. Liking and enjoyment are also difficult terms to define in more detail, but they are certainly easier to recognise than the rather opaque “intrinsically valuable experience.”

Merely defining pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience and intrinsically valuable experiences as those that we like or enjoy still lacks enough detail to be very useful for contemplating well-being. A potential method for making this theory more useful would be to draw on the cognitive sciences to investigate if there is a specific neurological function for liking or enjoying. Cognitive science has not reached the point where anything definitive can be said about this, but a few neuroscientists have experimental evidence that liking and wanting (at least in regards to food) are neurologically distinct processes in rats and have argued that it should be the same for humans. The same scientists have wondered if the same processes govern all of our liking and wanting, but this question remains unresolved.

Most Hedonists who describe pleasure as intrinsically valuable experience believe that pleasure is internal and conscious. Hedonists who define pleasure in this way may be either Quantitative or Qualitative Hedonists, depending on whether they think that quality is a relevant dimension of how intrinsically valuable we find certain experiences.

One of the most recent developments in modern hedonism is the rise of defining pleasure as a pro-attitude a positive psychological stance toward some object. Any account of Prudential Hedonism that defines pleasure as a pro-attitude is referred to as Attitudinal Hedonism because it is a persons attitude that dictates whether anything has intrinsic value. Positive psychological stances include approving of something, thinking it is good, and being pleased about it. The object of the positive psychological stance could be a physical object, such as a painting one is observing, but it could also be a thought, such as “my country is not at war,” or even a sensation. An example of a pro-attitude towards a sensation could be being pleased about the fact that an ice cream tastes so delicious.

Fred Feldman, the leading proponent of Attitudinal Hedonism, argues that the sensation of pleasure only has instrumental value it only brings about value if you also have a positive psychological stance toward that sensation. In addition to his basic Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism, which is a form of Quantitative Hedonism, Feldman has also developed many variants that are types of Qualitative Hedonism. For example, Desert-Adjusted Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism, which reduces the intrinsic value a pro-attitude has for our well-being based on the quality of deservedness (that is, on the extent to which the particular object deserves a pro-attitude or not). For example, Desert-Adjusted Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism might stipulate that sensations of pleasure arising from adulterous behavior do not deserve approval, and so assign them no value.

Defining pleasure as a pro-attitude, while maintaining that all sensations of pleasure have no intrinsic value, makes Attitudinal Hedonism less obviously hedonistic as the versions that define pleasure as a sensation. Indeed, defining pleasure as a pro-attitude runs the risk of creating a preference satisfaction account of well-being because being pleased about something without feeling any pleasure seems hard to distinguish from having a preference for that thing.

The most common argument against Prudential Hedonism is that pleasure is not the only thing that intrinsically contributes to well-being. Living in reality, finding meaning in life, producing noteworthy achievements, building and maintaining friendships, achieving perfection in certain domains, and living in accordance with religious or moral laws are just some of the other things thought to intrinsically add value to our lives. When presented with these apparently valuable aspects of life, Hedonists usually attempt to explain their apparent value in terms of pleasure. A Hedonist would argue, for example, that friendship is not valuable in and of itself, rather it is valuable to the extent that it brings us pleasure. Furthermore, to answer why we might help a friend even when it harms us, a Hedonist will argue that the prospect of future pleasure from receiving reciprocal favors from our friend, rather than the value of friendship itself, should motivate us to help in this way.

Those who object to Prudential Hedonism on the grounds that pleasure is not the only source of intrinsic value use two main strategies. In the first strategy, objectors make arguments that some specific value cannot be reduced to pleasure. In the second strategy, objectors cite very long lists of apparently intrinsically valuable aspects of life and then challenge hedonists with the prolonged and arduous task of trying to explain how the value of all of them can be explained solely by reference to pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This second strategy gives good reason to be a pluralist about value because the odds seem to be against any monistic theory of value, such as Prudential Hedonism. The first strategy, however, has the ability to show that Prudential Hedonism is false, rather than being just unlikely to be the best theory of well-being.

The most widely cited argument for pleasure not being the only source of intrinsic value is based on Robert Nozicks experience machine thought-experiment. Nozicks experience machine thought-experiment was designed to show that more than just our experiences matter to us because living in reality also matters to us. This argument has proven to be so convincing that nearly every single book on ethics that discusses hedonism rejects it using only this argument or this one and one other.

In the thought experiment, Nozick asks us to imagine that we have the choice of plugging in to a fantastic machine that flawlessly provides an amazing mix of experiences. Importantly, this machine can provide these experiences in a way that, once plugged in to the machine, no one can tell that their experiences are not real. Disregarding considerations about responsibilities to others and the problems that would arise if everyone plugged in, would you plug in to the machine for life? The vast majority of people reject the choice to live a much more pleasurable life in the machine, mostly because they agree with Nozick that living in reality seems to be important for our well-being. Opinions differ on what exactly about living in reality is so much better for us than the additional pleasure of living in the experience machine, but the most common response is that a life that is not lived in reality is pointless or meaningless.

Since this argument has been used so extensively (from the mid 1970s onwards) to dismiss Prudential Hedonism, several attempts have been made to refute it. Most commonly, Hedonists argue that living an experience machine life would be better than living a real life and that most people are simply mistaken to not want to plug in. Some go further and try to explain why so many people choose not to plug in. Such explanations often point out that the most obvious reasons for not wanting to plug in can be explained in terms of expected pleasure and avoidance of pain. For example, it might be argued that we expect to get pleasure from spending time with our real friends and family, but we do not expect to get as much pleasure from the fake friends or family we might have in the experience machine. These kinds of attempts to refute the experience machine objection do little to persuade non-Hedonists that they have made the wrong choice.

A more promising line of defence for the Prudential Hedonists is to provide evidence that there is a particular psychological bias that affects most peoples choice in the experience machine thought experiment. A reversal of Nozicks thought experiment has been argued to reveal just such a bias. Imagine that a credible source tells you that you are actually in an experience machine right now. You have no idea what reality would be like. Given the choice between having your memory of this conversation wiped and going to reality, what would be best for you to choose? Empirical evidence on this choice shows that most people would choose to stay in the experience machine. Comparing this result with how people respond to Nozicks experience machine thought experiment reveals the following: In Nozicks experience machine thought experiment people tend to choose a real and familiar life over a more pleasurable life and in the reversed experience machine thought experiment people tend to choose a familiar life over a real life. Familiarity seems to matter more than reality, undermining the strength of Nozicks original argument. The bias thought to be responsible for this difference is the status quo bias an irrational preference for the familiar or for things to stay as they are.

Regardless of whether Nozicks experience machine thought experiment is as decisive a refutation of Prudential Hedonism as it is often thought to be, the wider argument (that living in reality is valuable for our well-being) is still a problem for Prudential Hedonists. That our actions have real consequences, that our friends are real, and that our experiences are genuine seem to matter for most of us regardless of considerations of pleasure. Unfortunately, we lack a trusted methodology for discerning if these things should matter to us. Perhaps the best method for identifying intrinsically valuable aspects of lives is to compare lives that are equal in pleasure and all other important ways, except that one aspect of one of the lives is increased. Using this methodology, however, seems certain to lead to an artificial pluralist conclusion about what has value. This is because any increase in a potentially valuable aspect of our lives will be viewed as a free bonus. And, most people will choose the life with the free bonus just in case it has intrinsic value, not necessarily because they think it does have intrinsic value.

The main traditional line of criticism against Prudential Hedonism is that not all pleasure is valuable for well-being, or at least that some pleasures are less valuable than others because of non-amount-related factors. Some versions of this criticism are much easier for Prudential Hedonists to deal with than others depending on where the allegedly disvaluable aspect of the pleasure resides. If the disvaluable aspect is experienced with the pleasure itself, then both Qualitative and Quantitative varieties of Prudential Hedonism have sufficient answers to these problems. If, however, the disvaluable aspect of the pleasure is never experienced, then all types of Prudential Hedonism struggle to explain why the allegedly disvaluable aspect is irrelevant.

Examples of the easier criticisms to deal with are that Prudential Hedonism values, or at least overvalues, perverse and base pleasures. These kinds of criticisms tend to have had more sway in the past and doubtless encouraged Mill to develop his Qualitative Hedonism. In response to the charge that Prudential Hedonism mistakenly values pleasure from sadistic torture, sating hunger, copulating, listening to opera, and philosophising all equally, Qualitative Hedonists can simply deny that it does. Since pleasure from sadistic torture will normally be experienced as containing the quality of sadism (just as the pleasure from listening to good opera is experienced as containing the quality of acoustic excellence), the Qualitative Hedonist can plausibly claim to be aware of the difference in quality and allocate less value to perverse or base pleasures accordingly.

Prudential Hedonists need not relinquish the Quantitative aspect of their theory in order to deal with these criticisms, however. Quantitative Hedonists, can simply point out that moral or cultural values are not necessarily relevant to well-being because the investigation of well-being aims to understand what the good life for the one living it is and what intrinsically makes their life go better for them. A Quantitative Hedonist can simply respond that a sadist that gets sadistic pleasure from torturing someone does improve their own well-being (assuming that the sadist never feels any negative emotions or gets into any other trouble as a result). Similarly, a Quantitative Hedonist can argue that if someone genuinely gets a lot of pleasure from porcine company and wallowing in the mud, but finds opera thoroughly dull, then we have good reason to think that having to live in a pig sty would be better for her well-being than forcing her to listen to opera.

Much more problematic for both Quantitative and Qualitative Hedonists, however, are the more modern versions of the criticism that not all pleasure is valuable. The modern versions of this criticism tend to use examples in which the disvaluable aspect of the pleasure is never experienced by the person whose well-being is being evaluated. The best example of these modern criticisms is a thought experiment devised by Shelly Kagan. Kagans deceived businessman thought experiment is widely thought to show that pleasures of a certain kind, namely false pleasures, are worth much less than true pleasures.

Kagan asks us to imagine the life of a very successful businessman who takes great pleasure in being respected by his colleagues, well-liked by his friends, and loved by his wife and children until the day he died. Then Kagan asks us to compare this life with one of equal length and the same amount of pleasure (experienced as coming from exactly the same sources), except that in each case the businessman is mistaken about how those around him really feel. This second (deceived) businessman experiences just as much pleasure from the respect of his colleagues and the love of his family as the first businessman. The only difference is that the second businessman has many false beliefs. Specifically, the deceived businessmans colleagues actually think he is useless, his wife doesnt really love him, and his children are only nice to him so that he will keep giving them money. Given that the deceived businessman never knew of any of these deceptions and his experiences were never negatively impacted by the deceptions indirectly, which life do you think is better?

Nearly everyone thinks that the deceived businessman has a worse life. This is a problem for Prudential Hedonists because the pleasure is quantitatively equal in each life, so they should be equally good for the one living it. Qualitative Hedonism does not seem to be able to avoid this criticism either because the falsity of the pleasures experienced by the deceived businessman is a dimension of the pleasure that he never becomes aware of. Theoretically, an externalist and qualitative version of Attitudinal Hedonism could include the falsity dimension of an instance of pleasure even if the falsity dimension never impacts the consciousness of the person. However, the resulting definition of pleasure bears little resemblance to what we commonly understand pleasure to be and also seems to be ad hoc in its inclusion of the truth dimension but not others. A dedicated Prudential Hedonist of any variety can always stubbornly stick to the claim that the lives of the two businessmen are of equal value, but that will do little to convince the vast majority to take Prudential Hedonism more seriously.

Another major line of criticism used against Prudential Hedonists is that they have yet to come up with a meaningful definition of pleasure that unifies the seemingly disparate array of pleasures while remaining recognisable as pleasure. Some definitions lack sufficient detail to be informative about what pleasure actually is, or why it is valuable, and those that do offer enough detail to be meaningful are faced with two difficult tasks.

The first obstacle for a useful definition of pleasure for hedonism is to unify all of the diverse pleasures in a reasonable way. Phenomenologically, the pleasure from reading a good book is very different to the pleasure from bungee jumping, and both of these pleasures are very different to the pleasure of having sex. This obstacle is unsurpassable for most versions of Quantitative Hedonism because it makes the value gained from different pleasures impossible to compare. Not being able to compare different types of pleasure results in being unable to say if a life is better than another in most even vaguely realistic cases. Furthermore, not being able to compare lives means that Quantitative Hedonism could not be usefully used to guide behavior since it cannot instruct us on which life to aim for.

Attempts to resolve the problem of unifying the different pleasures while remaining within a framework of Quantitative Hedonism, usually involve pointing out something that is constant in all of the disparate pleasures and defining that particular thing as pleasure. When pleasure is defined as a strict sensation, this strategy fails because introspection reveals that no such sensation exists. Pleasure defined as the experience of liking or as a pro-attitude does much better at unifying all of the diverse pleasures. However, defining pleasure in these ways makes the task of filling in the details of the theory a fine balancing act. Liking or pro-attitudes must be described in such a way that they are not solely a sensation or best described as a preference satisfaction theory. And they must perform this balancing act while still describing a scientifically plausible and conceptually coherent account of pleasure. Most attempts to define pleasure as liking or pro-attitudes seem to disagree with either the folk conception of what pleasure is or any of the plausible scientific conceptions of how pleasure functions.

Most varieties of Qualitative Hedonism do better at dealing with the problem of diverse pleasures because they can evaluate different pleasures according to their distinct qualities. Qualitative Hedonists still need a coherent method for comparing the different pleasures with each other in order to be more than just an abstract theory of well-being, however. And, it is difficult to construct such a methodology in a way that avoids counter examples, while still describing a scientifically plausible and conceptually coherent account of pleasure.

The second obstacle is creating a definition of pleasure that retains at least some of the core properties of the common understanding of the term pleasure. As mentioned, many of the potential adjustments to the main definitions of pleasure are useful for avoiding one or more of the many objections against Prudential Hedonism. The problem with this strategy is that the more adjustments that are made, the more apparent it becomes that the definition of pleasure is not recognisable as the pleasure that gave Hedonism its distinctive intuitive plausibility in the first place. When an instance of pleasure is defined simply as when someone feels good, its intrinsic value for well-being is intuitively obvious. However, when the definition of pleasure is stretched, so as to more effectively argue that all valuable experiences are pleasurable, it becomes much less recognisable as the concept of pleasure we use in day-to-day life and its intrinsic value becomes much less intuitive.

The future of hedonism seems bleak. The considerable number and strength of the arguments against Prudential Hedonisms central principle (that pleasure and only pleasure intrinsically contributes positively to well-being and the opposite for pain) seem insurmountable. Hedonists have been creative in their definitions of pleasure so as to avoid these objections, but more often than not find themselves defending a theory that is not particularly hedonistic, realistic or both.

Perhaps the only hope that Hedonists of all types can have for the future is that advances in cognitive science will lead to a better understanding of how pleasure works in the brain and how biases affect our judgements about thought experiments. If our improved understanding in these areas confirms a particular theory about what pleasure is and also provides reasons to doubt some of the widespread judgements about the thought experiments that make the vast majority of philosophers reject hedonism, then hedonism might experience at least a partial revival. The good news for Hedonists is that at least some emerging theories and results from cognitive science do appear to support some aspects of hedonism.

Dan WeijersEmail: danweijers@gmail.comVictoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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Hedonism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

hedonism | Philosophy & Definition | Britannica.com

Hedonism, in ethics, a general term for all theories of conduct in which the criterion is pleasure of one kind or another. The word is derived from the Greek hedone (pleasure), from hedys (sweet or pleasant).

Hedonistic theories of conduct have been held from the earliest times. They have been regularly misrepresented by their critics because of a simple misconception, namely, the assumption that the pleasure upheld by the hedonist is necessarily purely physical in its origins. This assumption is in most cases a complete perversion of the truth. Practically all hedonists recognize the existence of pleasures derived from fame and reputation, from friendship and sympathy, from knowledge and art. Most have urged that physical pleasures are not only ephemeral in themselves but also involve, either as prior conditions or as consequences, such pains as to discount any greater intensity that they may have while they last.

The earliest and most extreme form of hedonism is that of the Cyrenaics as stated by Aristippus, who argued that the goal of a good life should be the sentient pleasure of the moment. Since, as Protagoras maintained, knowledge is solely of momentary sensations, it is useless to try to calculate future pleasures and to balance pains against them. The true art of life is to crowd as much enjoyment as possible into each moment.

No school has been more subject to the misconception noted above than the Epicurean. Epicureanism is completely different from Cyrenaicism. For Epicurus pleasure was indeed the supreme good, but his interpretation of this maxim was profoundly influenced by the Socratic doctrine of prudence and Aristotles conception of the best life. The true hedonist would aim at a life of enduring pleasure, but this would be obtainable only under the guidance of reason. Self-control in the choice and limitation of pleasures with a view to reducing pain to a minimum was indispensable. This view informed the Epicurean maxim Of all this, the beginning, and the greatest good, is prudence. This negative side of Epicureanism developed to such an extent that some members of the school found the ideal life rather in indifference to pain than in positive enjoyment.

In the late 18th century Jeremy Bentham revived hedonism both as a psychological and as a moral theory under the umbrella of utilitarianism. Individuals have no goal other than the greatest pleasure, thus each person ought to pursue the greatest pleasure. It would seem to follow that each person inevitably always does what he or she ought. Bentham sought the solution to this paradox on different occasions in two incompatible directions. Sometimes he says that the act which one does is the act which one thinks will give the most pleasure, whereas the act which one ought to do is the act which really will provide the most pleasure. In short, calculation is salvation, while sin is shortsightedness. Alternatively he suggests that the act which one does is that which will give one the most pleasure, whereas the act one ought to do is that which will give all those affected by it the most pleasure.

The psychological doctrine that a humans only aim is pleasure was effectively attacked by Joseph Butler. He pointed out that each desire has its own specific object and that pleasure comes as a welcome addition or bonus when the desire achieves its object. Hence the paradox that the best way to get pleasure is to forget it and to pursue wholeheartedly other objects. Butler, however, went too far in maintaining that pleasure cannot be pursued as an end. Normally, indeed, when one is hungry or curious or lonely, there is desire to eat, to know, or to have company. These are not desires for pleasure. One can also eat sweets when one is not hungry, for the sake of the pleasure that they give.

Moral hedonism has been attacked since Socrates, though moralists sometimes have gone to the extreme of holding that humans never have a duty to bring about pleasure. It may seem odd to say that a human has a duty to pursue pleasure, but the pleasures of others certainly seem to count among the factors relevant in making a moral decision. One particular criticism which may be added to those usually urged against hedonists is that whereas they claim to simplify ethical problems by introducing a single standard, namely pleasure, in fact they have a double standard. As Bentham said, Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. Hedonists tend to treat pleasure and pain as if they were, like heat and cold, degrees on a single scale, when they are really different in kind.

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Astro-Physics AP900 QMD Mount with Controller and Pier …

This gorgeous mount and pier is in really good condition for having been pre-owned! There are only two issues of which are cosmetic and not mechanical, therefor this AP900 mount with pier is fully operational. The images below show the discolorization of the pier, which could be painted making this issue very minor. The second issue is that there is some very small chipping of the paint that without taking a close look it cannot easily be seen. The spots of chipping paint are located on sharp edges and this mount has more obtuse angles than acute ones. Overall, This beast of a mount is in really good condition.The AP900 Quartz Micro Drive (QMD) predates the SMD version and current AP900GTO version mounts out today. This is a rock solid, high precision mount. The hand controller has the N,S,E,W buttons as well as PEC memory, backlash control, Sol, Lunar, King tracking rates and a brightness knob. Guide rates are 8x and 16x. The QMD mounts deliver great performance at a lower cost than other mounts like it. They are hard to find and sell quickly when found. Dovetail & rings are not included.

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Astro-Physics AP900 QMD Mount with Controller and Pier …

Astrophysics – Play it now at Coolmath-Games.com

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Astrophysics – Play it now at Coolmath-Games.com

Company Seven | Astro-Physics Tripods, Portable Piers

ASTRO-PHYSICS ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT WOOD FIELD TRIPOD, AND PORTABLE PIERS FOR MODEL400, 600, 800, 900, AND 1200 SERIES GERMAN EQUATORIAL MOUNTS

Astro-Physics German equatorial mounts employ either a portable tripod, or a portable or a fixed pier as a support stand. Theassembled portable piers are under stress to provide excellent rigidity. The portable piers are also a good choice for travelby air or cargo as they are very resistant to impact damage. Neither of these choices of stand requires any tools for assemblyin the field, although to install a Model 900 or 1200 head requires an Allen wrench that is provided with the mount head.

It is possible to have a metal pier fabricated locally, and then install it (into a foundation below the regional frost line)at a convenient observing location. Utilities for power and signal can be installed below ground and up through the pier.Those persons interested in such an effort should contact us for specific advice.

The selection of a field tripod or a portable pier will to some degree be a matter of personal preference. For those personswho intend to do astrophotography (film or CCD), or for those where economy and durability are a concern then we do suggest aportable or permanent pier. For those where the convenience of height adjustment, quicker set up and disassembly, oraesthetics are a concern then the wood or aluminum tripods may be a good choice.

Portable Piers:

These piersfeature a unique tension design that combines rugged construction with light weight, while also eliminating flexure andannoying vibrations. Legs and tension rods attach without the need for any tools thereby permitting assembly in a matter of afew minutes. The stainless steel tension rods do not interfere when the telescope is pointed at zenith as the rods are locateda reasonable distance below the mount head. Turnbuckles are used to adjust tension on the rods; these also allow limitedultra-fine adjustments when polar aligning. The tension system is the simple technology that results in the firm base ofsupport provided by the portable pier. The center post is constructed of aluminum tubing, the base and legs are of steel. Theconstruction materials and finish provide great resistance to the environmental elements.

Piers have no provisions for leveling nor is it necessary; the mount heads have adjustments to make polar alignment even onuneven terrain. For reasons of stability it is desirable to locate a pier (or a tripod) on as firm and level ground as ispossible. Sand bags may be installed within and or inside the piers to add rigidity and dampening in wind prone environments.

Astro-Physics Adjustable Height Wood Field Tripod (AWT000):

This tripod can easily be set up level with out the use of any tools. While this not necessary since the mount heads haveadjustment devices to polar align even on uneven terrain, leveling the tripod can minimize adjustment in elevation of themount head. For reasons of stability it is desirable to locate a tripod (or a pier) on as firm and level ground as ispossible. Sand bags may be installed at the feet of the tripod to add rigidity and dampening in wind prone environments.

Support Bar and Accessory Tray for Astro-Physics Piers:

For those who wish a convenient location for the placement of small accessories, Astro-Physics has produced a support bar andaccessory tray. In addition to serving as a storage shelf, when used as a pair the top tray will keep dew from forming onaccessories placed onto a lower accessory tray.

A Support Bar (TRAYSB) is attached to one of the holes at the top of a pier post. Each support bar can accept up to twoaccessory trays. Each accessory tray spans 120 degrees (1/3) of the pier so that you can construct a complete 360 degreecircular tray around the pier post with just three support bars and three trays. These trays slip into the support bars. Theavailable trays are:

It is possible to buy Astro-Physics support bar and accessory tray systems for installation onto any portable or permanentpier that complies with the Astro-Physics specifications for pier diameter and hole pattern.

Read the original:

Company Seven | Astro-Physics Tripods, Portable Piers

Company Seven | Astro-Physics 10 Inch f14.6 Maksutov High …

Astro-Physics 10 Inch (25.4cm) f14.6 Maksutov-Cassegrain High Resolution Telescope

Astro-Physics Co. who are known for making the world’s most advanced, versatile, and desired lines of Apochromatic refractor telescopes began the year 2000 with the announcement of their first production Catadioptric telescope!

After more than a decade of research and development to “get it right” Astro-Physics has sold out the first of a limited number of Maksutov”Mak” telescopes. Designated the Astro-Physics 10 inch f14.6 Maksutov Apochromat telescope, this is a compact 33 lb. (15 kg) high resolution instrument designed to provide refractor like views (and images) of the brighter, small objects including the planets, moon, double stars, and the like.Astro-Physics has been working to make a telescope that would be more compact, perform well in temperature extremes around the world, and meet their exacting requirements for optical and mechanical excellence: they have continued their tradition of innovative excellence.

A further goal in this development effort was to equal or to approach the performance of their highly prized triplet apochromatic refractors in at least certain applications. One thought in producing these Catadioptric telescopes is that if a number of customers who do not require the versatility of the Apo refractors (which perform superbly well at extremely high magnifications, and down to very low magnifications) will order the Mak telescopes instead of the triplet Apos then this may take some of the burden from the Triplet production line, and thereby helpAstro-Physics to satisfy a far greater number of the more demanding amateur and professional clientele.

Deliveries from the first production run will commence in limited numbers in April of year 2000. It is likely that production will accelerate, and the 10 inch model is likely to be followed by other variants of the design in terms of designed function and aperture.

The primary mirror is a truncated cone designed to eliminate as much thermal mass as possible. The rear surface of the mirror is fine ground and then polished, a process which also helps internal trapped heat to radiate out the open back. By grinding the edge and back of this mirror, any tiny stresses are relieved which could otherwise introduce unwanted distortions in the highly accurate front surface at varying ambient temperatures. In side-by-side tests against closed back scopes with conventional molded mirrors, theAstro-Physics design was faster, by far, in achieving a stable and accurate image.

Any optical imperfections such as a degree of surface roughness and zonal errors on the optical surface will compound the problem.Astro-Physics tested a commercial telescope where the central obstruction, optical errors and surface roughness were large enough to cause the first diffraction ring and central Airy disc to have almost equal brightness (with a 35% obstruction, theoretically there should be at least a4 to 1 difference). Even so, this sample telescope “tested” very well on the star test – it had quite similar inside and outside Fresnel patterns and might be judged to be textbook perfect by the star test. Yet it was a very poor performer on all but the most steady of nights, when the seeing was essentially perfect. The slightest motion in the atmosphere would result in a display of “cotton ball” stars. This is one reason whyAstro-Physics and Company Seven have not been a major fans of the “star test” to evaluate the actual performance of a telescope. The only unbiased way to measure an optic is withinterferometry, or by an MTF (modulation transfer function) test, or with a PSF (point spread function) test, which measures the relative strength of the Airy disc versus the diffraction rings with the image in focus.

Astro-Physics has endeavored to achieve the highest absorption of stray light possible by employing state of the art baffling and anti-reflection techniques; this will help to provide the user with maximum contrast. The exterior of the telescope is finished in a durable textured off white finish, with black anodized focuser and cells; these will retain their beauty for many years. You will appreciate the unique design and fine craftsmanship of this telescope.

Knife edge baffles are machined into the walls of the telescope optical tube and of the focuser draw tube, these and painted flat black in order to maximize contrast by essentially eliminating any internal reflections. The inside diameter (I.D.) of the draw tube permits the avid astrophotographer to employ up to a 35mm format film or CCD camera to capture images. You can use standard 2 inch diameter accessories, and with the furnished 1.25 inch adapter (threaded for 48mm filters) use common oculars and accessories too. Recessed brass locking rings are installed at each thumbscrew location; as you tighten a thumbscrew a brass locking ring clamps onto the part that has been inserted; consequently the focuser draw tube and any accessories are held securely in place and will not mar the surface of your accessories. This is particularly important considering the heavy and expensive accessories that you may use.

* Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Your local seeing conditions will greatly affect whether or not you may operate the telescope at its highest magnifications. Please call to discuss this if you have any questions.

Right: Company Seven ATA Case custom fitted for a Astro-Physics 13cm EDT Apochromat Telescope with 2.7 inch Focuser (65,974 bytes).Click on image to see enlarged view (215,942 bytes).

Features include:

Left: Astro-Physics Model 900 Mount in optional Company Seven ATA case.Case 1 of 2 shown here, with Declination housing (left side shown) with GTO Keypad Controllerand Counterweight Shaft (94,326 bytes).

See more here:

Company Seven | Astro-Physics 10 Inch f14.6 Maksutov High …

ASTRO PHYSICS AP400 GTO WITH WOODEN TRIPOD – CN …

https://optcorp.com/…w-wooden-tripod

USED ASTRO PHYSICS AP400 GO TO MOUNT W/WOODEN TRIPODThe two most important considerations in mount design and construction are maximum strength/rigidity for a given size and accuracy of the drive system. Without this basic foundation, all other features of a mount are just superfluous frills. The Astro-Physics 400GTO was engineered to be a compact, firm platform for your high-resolution instrument. Whether your interests are purely visual or include astro-photography, a steady image in the eyepiece or camera viewfinder is extremely important.The 400GTO is constructed of the highest quality components to provide you with years of observing pleasure. All parts are precisely machined on our computerized CNC lathe and machining center using solid or thick-wall aluminum and stainless steel. Machining tolerances are very high to achieve a tight, solid fit of all components. These are not thin-wall, weak, porous die castings as in most other mounts of comparable size. We avoid the use of any carbon steel shafts or plated steel fasteners because they will deteriorate with time. This mount will not rust or bind up and will retain its appearance and function throughout the years.Both axes respond to fingertip pressure with unparalleled smoothness. Built-in clutches can be disengaged for smooth sweeping or locked for astrophotography. The worm gears, motors and drive components are enclosed to protect them from dirt and dust. With the 105 Traveler, the 400 mount damps out in one second when mounted on the lightweight aluminum tripod.Your 400GTO mount can grow with your skills and interests in astronomy. You can enjoy the visual pursuits using the go-to Keypad controller and/or DigitalSky Voice software to help you find many fascinating objects. If you plan to take astro-photos, you will be pleased with the solid stability and inherent accurate tracking capability of the drive system. The GTO Control Box contains a plug-in for the CCD auto-guiding and imaging systems. These units will allow you to auto-guide astronomical photos and explore CCD imaging.FeaturesPrecision machined aluminum with radiused edgesGears and motors are fully enclosedGear in declination axis allows full 360 degree continuous rotation; scope can move through the zenith for photography2.5″ (6.4cm) hollow right-ascension and declination shafts maximize strength at minimum weightLarge thrust bearings form highly-stable thrust surfaces for tremendous rigidity in a small packageRemovable stainless steel counterweight shaft for compact storageEngraved setting circles with Porter Slip Ring designFine altitude and azimuth adjustments for quickly and accurately zeroing in on the pole in the fieldBlack anodized finish will retain its lustrous beauty for yearsBase fits into 6″ diameter pier with 0.083″ wall thicknessSpecifications of the Equatorial Head

Originally posted here:

ASTRO PHYSICS AP400 GTO WITH WOODEN TRIPOD – CN …

Astro-Physics AP900 QMD Mount with Controller and Pier …

This gorgeous mount and pier is in really good condition for having been pre-owned! There are only two issues of which are cosmetic and not mechanical, therefor this AP900 mount with pier is fully operational. The images below show the discolorization of the pier, which could be painted making this issue very minor. The second issue is that there is some very small chipping of the paint that without taking a close look it cannot easily be seen. The spots of chipping paint are located on sharp edges and this mount has more obtuse angles than acute ones. Overall, This beast of a mount is in really good condition.The AP900 Quartz Micro Drive (QMD) predates the SMD version and current AP900GTO version mounts out today. This is a rock solid, high precision mount. The hand controller has the N,S,E,W buttons as well as PEC memory, backlash control, Sol, Lunar, King tracking rates and a brightness knob. Guide rates are 8x and 16x. The QMD mounts deliver great performance at a lower cost than other mounts like it. They are hard to find and sell quickly when found. Dovetail & rings are not included.

Read the original here:

Astro-Physics AP900 QMD Mount with Controller and Pier …

Astrophysics – Play it now at Coolmath-Games.com

‘); } else { //console.log(“User may have come from google or is within the free game limit “+ (freeGameLimit-userPlayedGames) ); //TODO Display Game removeAdSwfJWPLayer(); } } //display to user how many free games left once page load completes. if (window.addEventListener) window.addEventListener(‘load’, checkPageLoad, false); else if (window.attachEvent) window.attachEvent(‘onload’, checkPageLoad); else window.onload = checkPageLoad; }}function checkPageLoad() {//console.log(“checkPageLoad: Checkers test “); if(freeGameLimit) { freeGamesLeft = ((freeGameLimit – userPlayedGames)); } else { freeGamesLeft = 0; } if(freeGamesLeft === 0) { var zeroFreeGamesLeftUsers =localStorage.getItem(“zeroFreeGamesLeftUsers”); if(zeroFreeGamesLeftUsers == null) { localStorage.setItem(“zeroFreeGamesLeftUsers”,”1″); __gaTracker(‘send’, { ‘hitType’: ‘event’, // Required. ‘eventCategory’: “ZeroFreeGamesLeftUsers”, // Required. ‘eventAction’: subscriberLeg, // Required. ‘eventLabel’: document.title, ‘eventValue’: “0”, ‘nonInteraction’: 1 }); } } //Replace Go Ad Free header promo with parents and teachers promo if(typeof freeTrialUser !== ‘undefined’ && freeTrialUser && typeof targeted_state !== ‘undefined’ && targeted_state && jQuery(‘.panel-pane.pane-block.pane-bean-subscriber-promo’).length) { jQuery(‘.panel-pane.pane-block.pane-bean-subscriber-promo’).replaceWith(”) } else if(typeof freeTrialUser !== ‘undefined’ && freeTrialUser && typeof targeted_state !== ‘undefined’ && targeted_state && jQuery(‘.panel-pane.pane-block .pane-bean-subscriber-promo’).length) { jQuery(‘.panel-pane.pane-block .pane-bean-subscriber-promo’).replaceWith(”) } subscriptionSignUpUrl(); if(Drupal.settings.isSubscriptionActive == false && getCookie(‘cmg_l’) !== null) { subscribeNowAlienClass = “subscribe-now-alien-subscribe”; }else if(getCookie(‘cmg_l’) == null) { subscribeNowAlienClass = “subscribe-now-alien”; }else if(getCookie(‘cmg_l’) == null && subscriberLeg == ‘Default Leg’) { subscribeNowAlienClass = “subscribe-now-signup”; } var alreadySubscriberText = ‘

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See the article here:

Astrophysics – Play it now at Coolmath-Games.com

Company Seven | Astro-Physics Tripods, Portable Piers

ASTRO-PHYSICS ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT WOOD FIELD TRIPOD, AND PORTABLE PIERS FOR MODEL400, 600, 800, 900, AND 1200 SERIES GERMAN EQUATORIAL MOUNTS

Astro-Physics German equatorial mounts employ either a portable tripod, or a portable or a fixed pier as a support stand. Theassembled portable piers are under stress to provide excellent rigidity. The portable piers are also a good choice for travelby air or cargo as they are very resistant to impact damage. Neither of these choices of stand requires any tools for assemblyin the field, although to install a Model 900 or 1200 head requires an Allen wrench that is provided with the mount head.

It is possible to have a metal pier fabricated locally, and then install it (into a foundation below the regional frost line)at a convenient observing location. Utilities for power and signal can be installed below ground and up through the pier.Those persons interested in such an effort should contact us for specific advice.

The selection of a field tripod or a portable pier will to some degree be a matter of personal preference. For those personswho intend to do astrophotography (film or CCD), or for those where economy and durability are a concern then we do suggest aportable or permanent pier. For those where the convenience of height adjustment, quicker set up and disassembly, oraesthetics are a concern then the wood or aluminum tripods may be a good choice.

Portable Piers:

These piersfeature a unique tension design that combines rugged construction with light weight, while also eliminating flexure andannoying vibrations. Legs and tension rods attach without the need for any tools thereby permitting assembly in a matter of afew minutes. The stainless steel tension rods do not interfere when the telescope is pointed at zenith as the rods are locateda reasonable distance below the mount head. Turnbuckles are used to adjust tension on the rods; these also allow limitedultra-fine adjustments when polar aligning. The tension system is the simple technology that results in the firm base ofsupport provided by the portable pier. The center post is constructed of aluminum tubing, the base and legs are of steel. Theconstruction materials and finish provide great resistance to the environmental elements.

Piers have no provisions for leveling nor is it necessary; the mount heads have adjustments to make polar alignment even onuneven terrain. For reasons of stability it is desirable to locate a pier (or a tripod) on as firm and level ground as ispossible. Sand bags may be installed within and or inside the piers to add rigidity and dampening in wind prone environments.

Astro-Physics Adjustable Height Wood Field Tripod (AWT000):

This tripod can easily be set up level with out the use of any tools. While this not necessary since the mount heads haveadjustment devices to polar align even on uneven terrain, leveling the tripod can minimize adjustment in elevation of themount head. For reasons of stability it is desirable to locate a tripod (or a pier) on as firm and level ground as ispossible. Sand bags may be installed at the feet of the tripod to add rigidity and dampening in wind prone environments.

Support Bar and Accessory Tray for Astro-Physics Piers:

For those who wish a convenient location for the placement of small accessories, Astro-Physics has produced a support bar andaccessory tray. In addition to serving as a storage shelf, when used as a pair the top tray will keep dew from forming onaccessories placed onto a lower accessory tray.

A Support Bar (TRAYSB) is attached to one of the holes at the top of a pier post. Each support bar can accept up to twoaccessory trays. Each accessory tray spans 120 degrees (1/3) of the pier so that you can construct a complete 360 degreecircular tray around the pier post with just three support bars and three trays. These trays slip into the support bars. Theavailable trays are:

It is possible to buy Astro-Physics support bar and accessory tray systems for installation onto any portable or permanentpier that complies with the Astro-Physics specifications for pier diameter and hole pattern.

Read more here:

Company Seven | Astro-Physics Tripods, Portable Piers

ASTRO PHYSICS AP400 GTO WITH WOODEN TRIPOD – CN …

https://optcorp.com/…w-wooden-tripod

USED ASTRO PHYSICS AP400 GO TO MOUNT W/WOODEN TRIPODThe two most important considerations in mount design and construction are maximum strength/rigidity for a given size and accuracy of the drive system. Without this basic foundation, all other features of a mount are just superfluous frills. The Astro-Physics 400GTO was engineered to be a compact, firm platform for your high-resolution instrument. Whether your interests are purely visual or include astro-photography, a steady image in the eyepiece or camera viewfinder is extremely important.The 400GTO is constructed of the highest quality components to provide you with years of observing pleasure. All parts are precisely machined on our computerized CNC lathe and machining center using solid or thick-wall aluminum and stainless steel. Machining tolerances are very high to achieve a tight, solid fit of all components. These are not thin-wall, weak, porous die castings as in most other mounts of comparable size. We avoid the use of any carbon steel shafts or plated steel fasteners because they will deteriorate with time. This mount will not rust or bind up and will retain its appearance and function throughout the years.Both axes respond to fingertip pressure with unparalleled smoothness. Built-in clutches can be disengaged for smooth sweeping or locked for astrophotography. The worm gears, motors and drive components are enclosed to protect them from dirt and dust. With the 105 Traveler, the 400 mount damps out in one second when mounted on the lightweight aluminum tripod.Your 400GTO mount can grow with your skills and interests in astronomy. You can enjoy the visual pursuits using the go-to Keypad controller and/or DigitalSky Voice software to help you find many fascinating objects. If you plan to take astro-photos, you will be pleased with the solid stability and inherent accurate tracking capability of the drive system. The GTO Control Box contains a plug-in for the CCD auto-guiding and imaging systems. These units will allow you to auto-guide astronomical photos and explore CCD imaging.FeaturesPrecision machined aluminum with radiused edgesGears and motors are fully enclosedGear in declination axis allows full 360 degree continuous rotation; scope can move through the zenith for photography2.5″ (6.4cm) hollow right-ascension and declination shafts maximize strength at minimum weightLarge thrust bearings form highly-stable thrust surfaces for tremendous rigidity in a small packageRemovable stainless steel counterweight shaft for compact storageEngraved setting circles with Porter Slip Ring designFine altitude and azimuth adjustments for quickly and accurately zeroing in on the pole in the fieldBlack anodized finish will retain its lustrous beauty for yearsBase fits into 6″ diameter pier with 0.083″ wall thicknessSpecifications of the Equatorial Head

Originally posted here:

ASTRO PHYSICS AP400 GTO WITH WOODEN TRIPOD – CN …

Astro-Physics AP900 QMD Mount with Controller and Pier …

This gorgeous mount and pier is in really good condition for having been pre-owned! There are only two issues of which are cosmetic and not mechanical, therefor this AP900 mount with pier is fully operational. The images below show the discolorization of the pier, which could be painted making this issue very minor. The second issue is that there is some very small chipping of the paint that without taking a close look it cannot easily be seen. The spots of chipping paint are located on sharp edges and this mount has more obtuse angles than acute ones. Overall, This beast of a mount is in really good condition.The AP900 Quartz Micro Drive (QMD) predates the SMD version and current AP900GTO version mounts out today. This is a rock solid, high precision mount. The hand controller has the N,S,E,W buttons as well as PEC memory, backlash control, Sol, Lunar, King tracking rates and a brightness knob. Guide rates are 8x and 16x. The QMD mounts deliver great performance at a lower cost than other mounts like it. They are hard to find and sell quickly when found. Dovetail & rings are not included.

Original post:

Astro-Physics AP900 QMD Mount with Controller and Pier …

Company Seven | Astro-Physics 10 Inch f14.6 Maksutov High …

Astro-Physics 10 Inch (25.4cm) f14.6 Maksutov-Cassegrain High Resolution Telescope

Astro-Physics Co. who are known for making the world’s most advanced, versatile, and desired lines of Apochromatic refractor telescopes began the year 2000 with the announcement of their first production Catadioptric telescope!

After more than a decade of research and development to “get it right” Astro-Physics has sold out the first of a limited number of Maksutov”Mak” telescopes. Designated the Astro-Physics 10 inch f14.6 Maksutov Apochromat telescope, this is a compact 33 lb. (15 kg) high resolution instrument designed to provide refractor like views (and images) of the brighter, small objects including the planets, moon, double stars, and the like.Astro-Physics has been working to make a telescope that would be more compact, perform well in temperature extremes around the world, and meet their exacting requirements for optical and mechanical excellence: they have continued their tradition of innovative excellence.

A further goal in this development effort was to equal or to approach the performance of their highly prized triplet apochromatic refractors in at least certain applications. One thought in producing these Catadioptric telescopes is that if a number of customers who do not require the versatility of the Apo refractors (which perform superbly well at extremely high magnifications, and down to very low magnifications) will order the Mak telescopes instead of the triplet Apos then this may take some of the burden from the Triplet production line, and thereby helpAstro-Physics to satisfy a far greater number of the more demanding amateur and professional clientele.

Deliveries from the first production run will commence in limited numbers in April of year 2000. It is likely that production will accelerate, and the 10 inch model is likely to be followed by other variants of the design in terms of designed function and aperture.

The primary mirror is a truncated cone designed to eliminate as much thermal mass as possible. The rear surface of the mirror is fine ground and then polished, a process which also helps internal trapped heat to radiate out the open back. By grinding the edge and back of this mirror, any tiny stresses are relieved which could otherwise introduce unwanted distortions in the highly accurate front surface at varying ambient temperatures. In side-by-side tests against closed back scopes with conventional molded mirrors, theAstro-Physics design was faster, by far, in achieving a stable and accurate image.

Any optical imperfections such as a degree of surface roughness and zonal errors on the optical surface will compound the problem.Astro-Physics tested a commercial telescope where the central obstruction, optical errors and surface roughness were large enough to cause the first diffraction ring and central Airy disc to have almost equal brightness (with a 35% obstruction, theoretically there should be at least a4 to 1 difference). Even so, this sample telescope “tested” very well on the star test – it had quite similar inside and outside Fresnel patterns and might be judged to be textbook perfect by the star test. Yet it was a very poor performer on all but the most steady of nights, when the seeing was essentially perfect. The slightest motion in the atmosphere would result in a display of “cotton ball” stars. This is one reason whyAstro-Physics and Company Seven have not been a major fans of the “star test” to evaluate the actual performance of a telescope. The only unbiased way to measure an optic is withinterferometry, or by an MTF (modulation transfer function) test, or with a PSF (point spread function) test, which measures the relative strength of the Airy disc versus the diffraction rings with the image in focus.

Astro-Physics has endeavored to achieve the highest absorption of stray light possible by employing state of the art baffling and anti-reflection techniques; this will help to provide the user with maximum contrast. The exterior of the telescope is finished in a durable textured off white finish, with black anodized focuser and cells; these will retain their beauty for many years. You will appreciate the unique design and fine craftsmanship of this telescope.

Knife edge baffles are machined into the walls of the telescope optical tube and of the focuser draw tube, these and painted flat black in order to maximize contrast by essentially eliminating any internal reflections. The inside diameter (I.D.) of the draw tube permits the avid astrophotographer to employ up to a 35mm format film or CCD camera to capture images. You can use standard 2 inch diameter accessories, and with the furnished 1.25 inch adapter (threaded for 48mm filters) use common oculars and accessories too. Recessed brass locking rings are installed at each thumbscrew location; as you tighten a thumbscrew a brass locking ring clamps onto the part that has been inserted; consequently the focuser draw tube and any accessories are held securely in place and will not mar the surface of your accessories. This is particularly important considering the heavy and expensive accessories that you may use.

* Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Your local seeing conditions will greatly affect whether or not you may operate the telescope at its highest magnifications. Please call to discuss this if you have any questions.

Right: Company Seven ATA Case custom fitted for a Astro-Physics 13cm EDT Apochromat Telescope with 2.7 inch Focuser (65,974 bytes).Click on image to see enlarged view (215,942 bytes).

Features include:

Left: Astro-Physics Model 900 Mount in optional Company Seven ATA case.Case 1 of 2 shown here, with Declination housing (left side shown) with GTO Keypad Controllerand Counterweight Shaft (94,326 bytes).

Read the original post:

Company Seven | Astro-Physics 10 Inch f14.6 Maksutov High …