Chapter 4 Essay Questions
1. Explain the difference between intrinsic value and instrumental value and give examples of things you take to be valuable in each way. Next, define hedonism. What does the hedonist claim is intrinsically valuable and what does she claim is instrumentally valuable? Do you agree?
2. Briefly describe an example of an intuitively valuable life (it can be someone you know personally or someone you just know of). Explain what makes his or her life valuable. Does Hedonism do a good job of capturing all the dimensions of value in the life in your example? Why or why not?
3. Explain the desire satisfaction theory of the good life. What are some of its advantages and some of its disadvantages? Do you think the desire satisfaction can capture everything about what makes for a good life? Why or why not?
4. Explain what you take to be the most forceful objection to Mill’s hedonism. How do you think Mill would respond to this objection? Ultimately, do you find this response satisfying? Why or why not?
5. Write an essay critically assessing Mill’s doctrine of “higher” and “lower” pleasures. How does Mill think we can determine which kinds of pleasure are most valuable? Do you find his standard plausible? Why or why not? Which kinds of pleasure does Mill claim are most valuable? Do you agree with him about this? Defend your answer.
6. Explain Nozick’s “experience machine” thought experiment. Would you plug into the experience machine? Why or why not? What do you think this shows about the good life?