Pursuit Of Pleasure

Overview

Pleasure is biologically desirable and good for physical and mental health. In The Pursuit of Pleasure, Lionel Tiger explores this aspect of human nature by focusing on the origins and forms of pleasure. Medical science has perfected a host of often astonishingly impressive methods for preventing, alleviating, or recovering from pain. Its opposite, pleasure, has not had such a well-funded and fully justified constituency. In fact, those committed to the understanding and pursuit of pleasure, are rarely accorded ...

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Overview

Pleasure is biologically desirable and good for physical and mental health. In The Pursuit of Pleasure, Lionel Tiger explores this aspect of human nature by focusing on the origins and forms of pleasure. Medical science has perfected a host of often astonishingly impressive methods for preventing, alleviating, or recovering from pain. Its opposite, pleasure, has not had such a well-funded and fully justified constituency. In fact, those committed to the understanding and pursuit of pleasure, are rarely accorded respect and a sense of significance. People have objected to the notion of pleasure for a variety of reasons. The most complex derive from religious convictions that the most morally admirable human life is marked by abstemiousness, suffering, even martyrdom. There is also a corresponding fear that people may pursue pleasure too avidly and with too strong a sense of entitlement, and the world's work will not get done. But just as there have been suspicions of the dangers of pleasure, there have also been its supporters who assert its vital and joyful centrality to human experience. The Pursuit of Pleasure favors an agnostic approach borrowed from natural science.

In lively, witty, and eminently readable prose, Tiger identifies major forms of pleasure and explores their variations, now and in the past. Pleasure, says Tiger, is not a luxury but an evolutionary entitlement that deserves to be taken seriously. As we acknowledge our need for enjoyment, we understand the need to establish balance in our lives-our need for the pursuit of pleasure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a freewheeling...provocative exploration of what motivates us most powerfully, Tiger seeks to establish the moral, scientific and political authority of entitlement....His observations offer fresh, intriguing perspectives." —Publishers Weekly "Tiger explores how sex, food, smell, warmth and other sensual pleasures have yielded advantages to man and are rooted in our physiological prehistory....His major point is that pleasure is positive, desirable, delicious, demanding and worth pursuing....The Pursuit of Pleasure is a great idea for a book." —Washington Times "Throughout these pages, this Lionel is a tiger of a writer: witty, frank, elegant and insightful." —Los Angeles Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an uneven but frequently provocative exploration of what motivates us most powerfully, Tiger seeks ``to establish the moral, scientific and political authority of pleasure.'' (Sept.)
Library Journal
Pleasure, says Tiger (anthropology, Rutgers Univ.), is an evolutionary holdover: we experience pleasure in activities that have helped us survive as a species over centuries under varying conditions (e.g., eating, reproducing). While most people accept pain as a natural part of the human condition, they resist pleasure because of cultural conditioning. The lesson to be learned from this book is that pleasure is a part of our human heritage which we should treasure and protect from bureaucratic encroachment. The increasing emphasis on home and comfort-centered values in the 1990s is part of a movement to regain this understanding, says Tiger. The book consists of a little theory and a lot of examples, which avid readers will have encountered elsewhere. Intellectuals may find this book illuminating; middle America will say we knew it all along.-- Lucy Patrick, Florida State Univ. Lib., Tallahassee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765806963
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Lionel Tiger is Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Decline of Males,Optimism,The Pursuit of Pleasure,China’s Food,The Manufacture of Evil, Men in Groups, and The Imperial Animal. In addition, he is a regular contributor to both Psychology Today and The New York Times. He is the series editor of Evolutionary Foundations of Human Behaviorfor Transaction Publishers. Lionel Tiger is Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Decline of Males,Optimism,The Pursuit of Pleasure,China’s Food,The Manufacture of Evil, Men in Groups, and The Imperial Animal. In addition, he is a regular contributor to both Psychology Today and The New York Times. He is the series editor of Evolutionary Foundations of Human Behaviorfor Transaction Publishers.

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Table of Contents

Prologue to the Transaction Edition ix
Cellos, Velvet, and the State 3
1 Where Is the State of Pleasuria? 19
2 Let's Spend a Quiet Evening in the Cave 52
3 Guess Why? 77
4 Spasmo Numero Uno, Con Due 122
5 BigMouth 167
6 The Senses: Everyone Has a Native Guide 205
7 The Power of Pleasure/The Pleasure of Power 238
"Elephant? Elephant? What Elephant?" 273
Notes 301
Acknowledgments 317
Index 319
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