Stefan Molyneux and the Definition of Love

I am hesitant to do back-to-back critiques of Stefan Molyneux, because I don’t want the blog to become the “Contra Molyneux” journal. However, in his Christmas podcast, Stefan made a number of titillating and curious assertions, that I just couldn’t resist. He did not offer a thorough defense of any of them in the podcast, but we can excuse this on the ground that at least some of these are defended elsewhere, and were only presuppositions necessary for the present discussion.

Approaches to the Problem of Desire

It seems to me, that the problem of desire has three plausible attitudinal responses: The hedonic approach: there is a never-ending supply of desirable things, and life is best lived by pursuing them all. Want is sated when all desirable things have been had. The goal, then, is pleasure at all times, as an equivalent to happiness. The ascetic / Buddhist approach: the things to be desired are never-ending, which means there will never be a time when all desirable things are had.

Plato Versus Mill on the Pleasure Principle

…after more than two thousand years the same discussions continue, philosophers are still ranged under the same contending banners, and neither thinkers nor mankind at large seem nearer to being unanimous on the subject, than when the youth Socrates listened to the old Protagoras, and asserted… the theory of utilitarianism against the popular morality of the so-called sophist… ~John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism I wonder, sometimes, if Mill had ever actually read the Protagoras.

Autism and Trollies - Against Utilitarianism

In recent years, it has been speculated that Jeremy Bentham was an autist. This speculation arises out of Bentham’s extreme attempts at systematizing human interactions in his formulation of Utilitarianism. Though I realize modern Utilitarianism is much more sophisticated now (in various forms of sociology and econometrics), I think they all still suffer from the fundamental assumptions laid down by Bentham. In this essay, I will show how one of those basic tenets leads to absurd conclusions, and hides imported value assumptions from other forms of ethics.