From Esthetic to Ethical Hedonism: A Paradigm Shift in Oscar Wilde’s Moral Philosophy

Linus O. Akudolu, Charles N. Okolie, Ifeanyi Okeke, Francis Ofoegbu, Vitalis C. Ugwu, Valentine N. Ojiegbe, Esther Ogbu


Oscar Wilde’s emphasis on estheticism gives him a negative image as a man of pleasure. Yes, he could be a lover of pleasure but his moral philosophy was not esthetic hedonism as many believe. This work, through a hermeneutic interpretation and philosophical analysis of the contents of his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his confessions and repentance argue that his true moral philosophy is ethical hedonism. It insists that even if he was formerly an esthetic hedonist; there was a paradigm shift from the former to the later. The implications of such a shift were also identified in this research.


Keywords: Oscar Wilde, estheticism, hedonism, ethics, Dorian Gray.



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