Pleasure and Pain

Roger Teichmann

in Nature, Reason, and the Good Life

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606177
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729461 | DOI:
Pleasure and Pain

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Pleasure and its opposite, pain or distaste, are not sensation-like inner states. As Ryle argued, pleasure can be understood via the notion of enjoyment. The idea that pleasure is good, or a good, seems related to the fact that ‘For pleasure’ often supplies a desirability characterization. But this fact looks puzzling, given the affinity between enjoying and wanting: how can ‘I enjoy it’ be an adequate answer to ‘Why do you want to do that?’? The solution relates to the possibility of giving a rationale, i.e. an answer to ‘How is that pleasant?’ Not anything can intelligibly be called pleasant. Pleasure, like desire, falls within the space of reasons. But the distinction between reason and cause can be blurred, e.g. in the case of humour. Deep pleasures can improve or broaden, music being a notable example.

Keywords: pleasure; pain; inner state; enjoyment; Ryle; desirability characterization; rationale; cause; humour; music

Chapter.  16005 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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