Hedonistic Egoism as a Paradoxical and Insufficient Doctrine for Freedom
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Resulting from the prevalence of hedonistic egoism within the youth culture and the media targeted to this demographic, this essay offers a brief discussion of hedonistic egoism absent in much of contemporary ethics. Analyzing Fred Feldman’s pure hedonism as discussed in Pleasure and the Good Life: Concerning the Nature, Varieties, and Plausibility of Hedonism, hedonistic egoism is defined as an extension of Feldmanian pure hedonism. Discussing the use of hedonistic egoism in modern society by certain societal groups, especially adolescents and young adults, as a means to seek freedom from certain societal authorities such as the law, or at least portions of it, the differences between negative and positive freedom are explored using Erich Fromm’s Escape From Freedom. It is then argued that when hedonistic egoism is used by individuals to seek freedom, whether it be negative or positive, certain paradoxes arise. Firstly, negative freedom, if existent, will exist merely psychology while, secondly, so far that pleasure and pain act as new authorities and egoism is present, positive freedom becomes an impossibility.