DanielLC wrote:The map is not the territory. Your beliefs and desires are incommensurate with reality. As such, trying to make reality map desires is nonsensical.
In addition to that, I notice that preference utilitarianism always seems to focus on changing reality, rather than changing preferences. I see no reason to do this. If there's six billion humans, and 10^53 kg of reality, change the humans.
Also, happiness seems more fundamental. Desires are just what make you happy.
I agree with you (and Mike Retriever). Preferentialism has certain implications that I, and most people, find intuitive and desirable but I don't understand the logic behind it. To me it seems clear that 'value' is an emotional concept and all of our preferences are emotionally based and what's inherently valuable is pleasure/happiness (emotional well being). Even if you make a distinction between "real happiness" and "shallow pleasure", I don't see how events matter if no one is emotionally affected by them (ie. being cremated, as you wished for, when you won't care what happens to your body when you're dead). I'm not convinced that hedonism is the theory of value that should be promoted, maybe hedonistic utilitarians should promote preference based utilitarianism or some hybrid ethical code (even if they privately disagree, it can be justified on consequentialist grounds), but as far as what's actually logical, I don't understand how people can 'decide' that preferentialism makes more sense than hedonism or vice versa just because it's more appealing.
As for why I don't prefer hedonism (though others here do), it is because I see it as self-destructive to ignore consideration of the long-term consequences of actions (e.g., smoking crack might be really fun right now, but the long-term consequences are definitely bad), and it seems that I have a future-orientated disposition.
This can so easily be countered by pointing out that smoking crack, in the *long run*, causes more distress than pleasure. Why do people take this argument seriously? 'Pleasure' refers as much to purely psychological states as it does to the sensory.