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Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure

Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at


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39 thoughts on “Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure

  1. The example of violinist doesn't hold water as the high-heels or those who attend the black-tie event simply won't take the metro in the first place.

  2. We like to think that when people grow up they don't act like spoiled kids. Oh really? You do not want this painting that is the same as the other one? Why, because it has a different history really?!
    No wonder this world is so full of suffering.

  3. "All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts." – The Dhammapada.

  4. Those Vermeer weren't forgeries of existing real Vermeers. Han van Meegeren just created his own paintings in the style, tool, technique that Vermeer would've used. When he's doing a side by side comparison of the 'real' vermeer and the 'forged' vermeers, those are actually the exact same painting

  5. @Danil Eremeev true, although there are a lot of crappy schools out there. i happened to go to pretty decent ones but I'm aware of schools that have poor ciriculums, lazy teachers, or insufficient funding

  6. OMFG, I cant take people on youtube complaining about how little they learned in school, Maybe you shouldnt have been a lazy stoner and paid the fuck some attention. Perhaps you could even comment intelligently on a TED video

  7. My two cents and Lacan's take on essentialism: Lacan's object a refers to the object-cause of desire: that which is in the object more than the object and which makes us desire it in the first place. It alludes to the originally lost object (the missing element that would resolve drive and "restore" fulfilment) and, at the same time, functions as an embodiment of lack; as a loss positivised.

  8. Two comments that even mention the word essentialism in them… yeah, you're all getting a great education here, I'm sure.

  9. @AutodidacticPhd
    I didn't miss the point, I simply didn't comment on the point. I commented on what I thought was the LESS obvious point that people seem to be in the habit of mocking people who, despite doing things that obviously reduce credibility, have not forfeited the respect due them as leaders. That's all I'm getting at.
    And I'm not sure what you think you know about me know from a couple YouTube comments, anyway, but let's just move on w/ our lives.

  10. @fanosth maybe you havent read enough yourself? As for sharing their ideologies yes i do, i'm happy to debate them as well..if you want to.

  11. You can probably tell if a person is either an essentialist-snob, or a scientific-materialist, by asking them what they think about sci-fi matter transporters (eg: Startrek).

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