Hedonism (Greek.hedon - pleasure) is a philosophical theory that recognizes pleasure as the highest good and criterion for human life. Everything else is indifferent if it does not serve to achieve this goal. Acts that seem selfless or selfless are actually explained by the pleasure associated with their fulfillment. The real virtue is the ability to achieve maximum pleasure without incurring or neglecting suffering.

The closest nature of such pleasure is established depending on the influence of the class environment in which individual representatives of hedonism speak. The creator of the hedonic (Cyrene) school, the philosopher Aristippus (beginning of the 4th century BC) preaches the pursuit of individual physical pleasures, while demanding for the skillful use of each of them to preserve complete inner freedom ("I own, don't own me" )

But already at the end of 1 and the beginning of 3 centuries BC. e. the late "Kirenets" (Annikeris, Theodore) and next to them the founder of the new school of hedonism Epicurus, reflecting the mood of aristocratic circles, tired of life struggles, give strong preference to spiritual pleasures (brought by friendship or scientific reflection) and a general joyful state of mind. And Epicurus even proclaims the highest limit of pleasure is liberation from suffering (“the elimination of everything that hurts”).

In modern times, I. Bentham (late 18th - early 19th centuries), a representative of the middle circles of the prudent trading bourgeoisie, requires an accurate calculation of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the pleasures, after which those that promise the most favorable outcome are selected. Correct behavior, therefore, depends on the correct “calculation”, and virtue turns into “measuring art” (as Plato characterized from the hedonistic point of view).

On the other hand, the ideologists of the French Enlightenment (Helvetius, Holbach) formulate the moral views of the petty bourgeoisie, insisting on the absence of selfless actions, but at the same time demanding a connection of personal interest with the public (up to the Holbach definition of virtue as “the art of making oneself happy through the happiness of others ").

In close proximity to hedonism, the theory of utilitarianism is developing. Against the recognition of pleasure as the highest criterion of value, the argument has repeatedly been put forward that in normal life processes, pleasure is not a guiding motive for a living being, and that these processes are aimed at preserving or continuing life. Pleasure is only a subjective sign of their appropriateness. $5 deposit online casino nz