University of Waikato
Positive Psychology and the “Paradox of Hedonism”
In the 19th century, the hedonistic philosopher Henry Sidgwick coined the concept of “Paradox of Hedonism”. According to it, the most ineffective way to reach pleasure is to deliberately pursue it. In other words, the intentional pursuit of pleasure is self-defeating. In my presentation, I will firstly present the historical and philosophical background of this idea. Secondly, I will review the empirical evidence that we possess at the moment. The question I want to answer is: does this psychological phenomenon exist at all? Thirdly, I will analyse the implications that this supposed paradox can have for positive psychology. Finally, I will reflect on how positive psychology and its practitioners can avoid this undesired outcome.
Lorenzo Buscicchi is a PhD candidate at University of Waikato from Tuscany, Italy. His research interests concern philosophy of well-being and philosophy of mind. More specifically, his research concerns the study of pleasure, happiness and Hedonism with a philosophical approach. Lorenzo is also the General manager of a NGO, based in Sweden, called Global Happiness Organisation.