A Hedonic Approach
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Chapter 1: Introduction
The hedonic approach sounds strange to non-English-speaking people because the connotation of hedonic is not clear. The origin of the word comes from hedonism in Greek philosophy. The Epicures are one of the leading examples of this school of philosophy. Hedonism is a synonym of the word ‘pleasure’. More strictly we can refer to the Oxford English Dictionary (1999, second edition, CD-ROM version 2.0): Adj. Of or relating to pleasure. (In ﬁrst quot. applied to the Cyrenaic school of philosophers.) In wider use, chieﬂy in Psychol.: of, pertaining to, or involving pleasurable or painful sensations or feelings, considered as aﬀects. Spec. hedonic tone, the degree of pleasantness or unpleasantness associated with an experience or state, esp. considered as a single quantity that can range from extreme pleasure to extreme pain. We can ﬁnd interesting examples, especially in psychology: 1901 F. Stout Man. Psychol. (ed. 2) i. i. 63 When we wish to say that pleasure or displeasure belongs to this or that mental process, we say that the process is pleasantly or unpleasantly toned. Hedonic-tone is a generic term for pleasure and the reverse, considered as attributes of this or that mental process. Anger has hedonic-tone, mostly of an unpleasant kind. Ibid. . . . 1932 G. Beebe-Center Psychol. Pleasantness & Unpleasantness i. 6 In the present volume . . . the general algebraic variable, whose positive values correspond to pleasantness and whose negative values correspond to unpleasantness, will be called hedonic-tone. 1940 Jrnl. Exper. Psychol. XXVI. 233 The oscillations of hedonic tone in his...