Feb 6, 2010

Happy happy fun fun – a cogent philosophy of life or failed self-worship?

Perhaps no-one seriously holds such views comprehensively; that’s ok, for straw men tend to be the easiest to demolish; nevertheless it remains a strand through society worth severing if in fact false. If I'm wrong, tell me why.

What’s the meaning of life (granted, this a problematic question)? To have fun!
What ought moral theory to be about?
Maximising fun.
What is a good death?
A peaceful end to an all-round fun time(?)

There are variants; but quite visible is a twisted situation where everything is made fungible or at least liquid if only viewed through the lens of the true universal currency, Fun or ‘utility’ for the more sophisticated. Some things of course make little sense when spoken of in these terms, but, following in the footsteps of the ontologically/metaphysically-minimalist logical positivists before, maybe we just shouldn’t talk about such things (as duty, responsibility, cancer, God, others' rights, a full well-going life and the like) if they cannot be fudged to fit the funfair universe. Of course there are deficiencies to such vapid hedonistic utilitarianism, or so I would like to claim. One would be that it fails to provide an internal account for why we should accept it, so if we want a justification of the concept as part of the theory, it clearly cannot be all-embracing.

JP Moreland, before refuting them, expresses such ideas rather nicely in an article on euthanasia:

“I do not exist for morality; rather, morality exists for me. The whole point of
morality is to protect my individual rights, preserve my individual happiness,
and maintain a well-ordered society within which I can seek happiness in
whatever way I define happiness (provided, of course, that I do not harm
others). The main purpose of life is happiness, and pain and suffering
are to be avoided whenever possible. My own goals and purposes are what
give my life meaning, and when I cannot pursue those goals and purposes
in a way that satisfies me, my life is no longer meaningful.

... my loyalty to my community is a much lower priority than is my loyalty to
myself. Communities exist for the individual, not vice versa. And when
community loyalties require me to sacrifice personal pleasures in a way that is
not in my own self interest, then I have no obligation to the community."

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