Source of knowledge Hedonism is the belief that the ultimate goal/motivation of life is to pursue pleasure.

Hedonists says something is “good” if the consequence produces pleasure or avoids pain.

Pleasure is a false god. Research shows that people who focus their energy on superficial pleasures end up more anxious, more emotionally unstable, and more depressed. Pleasure is the most superficial form of life satisfaction and therefore the easiest to obtain and the easiest to lose.

Hedonism is the belief that pleasure, or the absence of pain, is the most important principle in determining the morality of a potential course of action. Pleasure can be things like “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll,” but it can also include any intrinsically valuable experience like reading a good book.

Hedonism is a type of consequentialism, and it has several forms.

Forms of Hedonism

  • Normative hedonism is the idea that pleasure should be people’s primary motivation
  • Motivational hedonism says that only pleasure and pain cause people to do what they do
  • Egotistical hedonism requires a person to consider only his or her own pleasure in making choices
  • Altruistic hedonism says that the creation of pleasure for all people is the best way to measure if an action is ethical


Regardless of the type of hedonism, critics fault it as a guide for morality because hedonism ignores all other values, such as freedom or fairness, when evaluating right and wrong.