Chapter 2: The new science of pleasure: consumer choice behavior and the measurement of well-being
Illusion, Temperament, Succession, Surface, Surprise, Reality, Subjectiveness – these are threads on the loom of time, these are the threads of life. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844) Let there be granted to the science of pleasure what is granted to the science of energy, to imagine an ideally perfect instrument, a psychophysical machine, continually registering the height of pleasure experienced by an individual, exactly according to the verdict of consciousness, or rather diverging therefrom according to a law of errors. From moment to moment the hedonimeter varies; the delicate index now flickering with the flutter of the passions, now steadied by intellectual activity, low sunk whole hours in the neighbourhood of zero, or momentarily springing up toward infinity. (Edgeworth, 1881)
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