On ethics, Locke says very little, although that little is hedonist and determinist.
The true hedonist will aim at a life of enduring rational happiness; pleasure is the end of life, but true pleasure can be obtained only under the guidance of reason.
In ethics, he is a hard determinist and hedonist, though not without qualifications (man's boundless desire for "gain and glory") and peculiarities.
Practically all hedonists have argued that what are known as the "lower" pleasures are not only ephemeral in themselves but also productive of so great an amount of consequent pain that the wise man cannot regard them as truly pleasurable; the sane hedonist will, therefore, seek those so-called "higher" pleasures which are at once more lasting and less likely to be discounted by consequent pain.
- dwells so much upon the rewards of goodness, as bribes (we must almost say) to rational self-love, that some have called Butler himself an ethical hedonist; though his sermon on the " Love of God " ought surely to free him from that charge.
When Otto Ritschl interprets values hedonistically - recoiling from Hegel's idealism the whole way to empiricism - he brings again to our minds the doubt whether hedonist ethics can serve as a foundation for any religious belief.
A cosmopolitan on principle, and a convinced disbeliever in the ethics of his day, he comes very near to modern empiricism and especially to the modern Hedonist school.
In the Principles of Ethics Spencer, though relying mainly on the objective order of nature and the intrinsic consequences of actions for the guidance of conduct, conceives the ethical end in a manner intermediate between the hedonist and the evolutionist.
The second confusion is the tacit assumption that the pleasure of the hedonist is necessarily or characteristically of a purely physical kind; this assumption is in the case of some hedonistic theories a pure perversion of the facts.
It should be observed, however, that this choice of pleasures by a hedonist is conditioned not by "moral" (absolute) but by prudential (relative) considerations.