Metaphorically, something of little intellectual worth. According to Jeremy Bentham, whose utilitarianism measured the value of a state of affairs as an aggregate of the pleasure people derived from it, "quantity of pleasure being equal, pushpin is as good as poetry." That is, if mindless children's games made more people happier than abstruse poetry, the world should have more games and fewer odes. Bentham's view of the primacy of pleasure contrasted sharply with earlier philosophy that valued knowledge and intellectual understanding.

Push"pin` (?), n.

A child's game played with pins.

L. Estrange.

 

© Webster 1913.

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