Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
Chapter V, Footnote #13
Sample analysis of a complex pleasure
It would be a matter not only of curiosity,
but of some use, to exhibit a catalogue of the several complex
pleasures and pains, analyzing them at the same time into the several
simple ones, of which they are respectively composed. But such a
disquisition would take up too much room to be admitted here. A short
specimen, however, for the purpose of illustration, can hardly be
The pleasures taken in at the eye and ear are
generally very complex. The pleasures of a country scene, for
instance, consist commonly, amongst others, of the following
I. Pleasures of the senses.
- The simple pleasures of sight, excited by the perception of
agreeable colours and figures, green fields, waving foliage,
glistening water, and the like.
- The simple pleasures of the ear, excited by the perceptions of
the chirping of birds, the murmuring of waters, the rustling of the
wind among the trees.
- The pleasures of the smell, excited by the perceptions of the
fragrance of flowers, of new-mown hay, or other vegetable substances,
in the first stages of fermentation.
- The agreeable inward sensation, produced by a brisk circulation
of the blood, and the ventilation of it in the lungs by a pure air,
such as that in the country frequently is in comparison of that which
is breathed in towns.
II. Pleasures of the imagination produced by association.
- The idea of the plenty, resulting from the possession of the
objects that are in view, and of the happiness arising from it.
- The idea of the innocence and happiness of the birds, sheep,
cattle dogs, and other gentle or domestic animals.
- The idea of the constant flow of health;, supposed to be enjoyed
by all these creatures: a notion which is apt to result from the
occasional flow of health enjoyed by the supposed spectator.
- The idea of gratitude, excited by the contemplation of the
all-powerful and beneficent Being, who is looked up to as the author
of these blessings.
These four last are all of them, in some measure at least, pleasures
The depriving a man of this group of pleasures is one of the evils
apt to result from imprisonment; whether produced by illegal
violence, or in the way of punishment, by appointment of the laws.
IPML Chapter 5