The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • James Griffin
  • Derek Parfit
Reference work entry


From the Greek hedone, ‘pleasure’, this term is used of two different theses, one a psychological thesis about motivation (psychological hedonism), the other a thesis about what is intrinsically valuable in a person’s life (ethical hedonism).

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  1. A classic discussion of these issues is Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, 7th edn, Bk I, chs 4 and 9; Bk II, chs 1–4; Bk III, ch. 14; Bk IV, ch. 1. For a good discussion of Sidgwick’s views, see Schneewind (1977), ch. 11. For modern discussions, see Brandt (1979), ch. 13; Edwards (1979); Parfit (1984), Appendix I; Griffin (1986), Pt I.Google Scholar
  2. Brandt, R.B. 1979. A theory of the good and the right. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  3. Edwards, R.B. 1979. Pleasures and pains. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Griffin, J. 1986. Well-being. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Parfit, D. 1984. Reasons and persons. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. Schneewind, J.B. 1977. Sidgwick’s ethics and victorian moral philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  7. Sidgwick, H. 1874. The methods of ethics, 7th edn. London: Macmillan, 1907.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Griffin
    • 1
  • Derek Parfit
    • 1
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