pleasure principle

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pleasure principle

  1. (psychology, psychoanalysis, Freudianism, often hyphenated when used attributively) The principle that human decisions and behavior are strongly motivated by the instinctual desire of the id, arising in infancy, to experience pleasure and avoid pain.
    • 1998 Dec. 28, Richard Lacayo, "Where The Right Went Wrong," Time (retrieved 4 July 2015):
      Bork warns that America is in the grip of a radical individualism that recognizes no limit to the right of personal gratification, one for which the pleasure principle is the only principle that counts.
    • 2002 Jan. 26, Howard Jacobson, "A vision that took me back to adolescence, and a lot of American women to childhood," Independent (UK) (retrieved 4 July 2015):
      Health, too, was a consideration, though it was very much pleasure-principle health—the right to wring out every last throb of ecstasy from one's knackered organs.
    • 2008 March 16, Claire Dederer, "Brownstoners" (book review of The Future of Love by Shirley Abbott), New York Times (retrieved 4 July 2015):
      They can’t seem to decide if the moral imperative is more crucial than the pleasure principle, or the other way around.
    • 2009 Jan. 3, Blake Morrison, "A little of what you fancy," Guardian (UK) (retrieved 4 July 2015):
      The pleasure principle is, on the whole, a sound one, then: having what you like is fine so long as you don't have too much of it in one go.

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