|Hedonism is a profoundly tricky 'philosophy', for the main reason that the pleasurable things often have consequences. The philosophy that's most often associated with the pursuit of pleasure is Epicureanism, named after the Ancient Greek Philosopher Epicurus. His philosophy was directly based upon the maximisation of pleasure, but the conclusions he came to as a result of this philosophy were radically different from the simple 'indulge yourself' angle you see to be advocating. Basically eating rich foods might be considered pleasurable, but indigestion, obesity, constipation and the like are very much not pleasurable. So then the question becomes how to maximise pleasure - do you do it by eating whatever you want or do you do it by eating responsibly? Epicurus thought the hedonist would eat limited amounts of plain and simple foods. Similarly - indulging in sex with a large number of partners is fun, but if the consequence is sexually transmitted diseases or a lack of stable relationships, then is it actually more pleasurable in the long-term? And then there's our relationship with other people - exploiting people for personal gain might be considered living life to the full, but if they respond in kind as a result, then have you really gained pleasure?|
Here's a chunk from a really useful introduction to Epicurus (link) that you might find useful:
We don't need caviar, champagne, palaces, or bodyguards, which are expensive and difficult to acquire and keep. People who want more than they need are making a fundamental mistake, a mistake that reduces their chances of being satisfied and causes needless anxiety. While our bodies need food, water, shelter, and safety, all that our souls need is to be confident that our bodies will get what they need. If my body is contented and my soul is confident, then I will be cheerful, and being cheerful is the key to being happy. As long as we are cheerful it takes very little to keep us happy, but without cheerfulness we cannot really enjoy even the so-called 'pleasures' of life. Being cheerful is a state which is full of pleasure—indeed Epicurus calls it 'the limit of pleasure'—and it is a normal state, but if we suffer from anxiety we need to train ourselves to attain and maintain it. The discipline of Epicurean philosophy enables its followers to recognize how little they actually need, to enjoy possessing it, and to enjoy the confidence that they will continue to possess it. On the other hand, there is no reason not to enjoy occasional luxuries, if they happen to be easily available. There is nothing wrong with luxury in itself, but any dependence on luxuries is harmful to our happiness, as is every desire for unnecessary things.
Epicureanism is interesting for a whole range of reasons, and one of which is that it has certain resonances with the evolutionary development of altruism. It's like an enormous game of the Prisoner's dilemma - we actually all have a better quality of life if we cooperate with one another rather than trying to exploit one another. We all have reproductive advantages if we work well with each other rather than only caring about our own short-term pleasures. That's why we have evolved societies, that's why we care about our families, it's why the excessive pursuit of pleasure (or power, which Freud said is normally about securing certain forms of pleasure as well) is generally considered to be a sign of a 'bad' person.
So I guess the questions we are left with are: How do we really maximise pleasure? Is the pursuit of short-term pleasure a panacea to any of the world's problems? Is there any space for ideas like honour, responsibility and service in a hedonist or Epicurean philosophy?