Milton Konvitz American Ideals Lectures

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More rejects Stoic and Christian asceticism, Dr. Konvitz tells us, in favor of pleasure and pleasant experiences as a proper expression of natural reason so long as the exercise of personal pleasure does not hurt others or have unpleasant aftereffects. The denial of pleasure is only justified when it is done for the higher good of society. Such sacrifice of pleasure ultimately will be rewarded by God. More distinguishes between illusionary pleasures (such as “superior dress”) and the higher forms of intellectual and moral pleasures. Professor Konvitz suggests that More’s views on pleasure constitute a new and extraordinary way of viewing the world. John Stuart Mill was influenced by More’s insights in the definition of utilitarian principles that Mill himself would enunciate in his own writings and in his discussion of human liberty.

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