From the Heterogeneity Problem to a Natural-Kind Approach to Pleasure

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The heterogeneity problem, which stems from the alleged difficulty of finding out what all pleasant experiences have in common, is largely considered as a substantial issue in the philosophy of pleasure, one that is usually taken as the starting point for theorizing about the essence of pleasure. The goal of this paper is to move the focus away from the heterogeneity problem and toward a new approach to pleasure. To do this, I first show that, although the approach stemming from the heterogeneity problem – what I call the heterogeneity approach – has led to an interesting discussion on the essence of pleasure, it has significant methodological problems that make it unlikely to make more progress. I thus propose a natural-kind approach to pleasure, which has been surprisingly overlooked so far, and which seeks to determine what, if any, the natural kind of pleasure would consist in. This approach overcomes the obstacles which the heterogeneity approach is confronted with. It also broadens the investigation of pleasure by enabling the use of a larger range of methodological tools, thus opening new promising directions for research.
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Archival date: 2019-11-05
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