Pain, Pleasure, and Aesthetics: An Essay concerning the Psychology of Pain and Pleasure, with Special Reference to Aesthetics

By Henry Marshall Rutgers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF PLEASURE AND PAIN -- I

Introductory Summary

I

AN examination of the theories which have been presented to account for pleasure-pain phenomena shows that it is possible to separate them into four groups. We have first --

A (p. 172 ff.). The theories arising from consideration of pains of violence, according to which pain is looked upon in the first instance as due to an overstepping of the limits of normal activity, and from this the principle is extended to include the negative limit of subnormal activity, which apparently makes it possible also to account for pains of obstruction. Pleasure is then conceived to be occasioned by restoration to normal and healthful conditions. Under this conception we are compelled to look upon pleasure as a process of replenishment, a view which Aristotle showed to be intrinsically weak. There appears, moreover, to be no manner in which we can account under this theory for those most vivid pleasures which are evidently due to activities more than ordinarily vigorous, viz. the pleasures of exercise.

B (p. 176 ff.). A second group of theories is evidently based upon observation of the pleasures of relief which

-167-

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