Ultilitarianism

Utilitarianism

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  • Ultilitarianism
    • Jeremy Bentham
      • Hedonistic Utilitarianism (Towards pleasure, away from pain)
        • Good is pleasure, flee from pain. "The good is that will bring about the greatest sum of pleasure and least pain for the greatest number."
          • "Each person should count for one, no person for more than one"
          • Look after your self interest
      • Psychological hedonist (no pain, seeking pleasure is in our nature)
        • "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is them alone to point out what we ought do, as well as determine what we shall do."
      • Radical Empiricism
        • Secular
        • Pleasure is experienced then and now
        • Through the five senses (feel, hear smell, see, taste)
        • Felicific/Hedonistic Calculus
          • Duration: How long will it last
          • Intensity: How intense is it
          • Propinquity: How near or remote
          • Extent: How widely it covers
          • Certainty: How probable is it
          • Fecundity: Leads to other pleasure?
    • Scientific Enlightenment
      • David Hume, Scottish skeptic
        • "Divinity and metaphysics, cast them into the flames, for they contain nothing but sophistry and illusion"
      • No intrinsic goods (no Natural/Divine Law)
        • Away from deontology (an action good/bad in itself), consequentialism
        • Teleological thinking (answers lie in nature, empirical evidence)
      • Rejection of the Decalogue, Thomas Aquinas, Natural Law
        • God is contrary to rational thought and evidence
    • John Stuart Mill
      • Greatest Happiness Principle
        • Eudamonistic Utilitarian (Emphasise happiness not pleasure, 'eudamonia', human flourishing)
        • Private and public actions (we can flourish in our own ways alone as long as our actions are not detrimental to others)
          • "The common good", actions should not be the result of state imposed force
        • Higher and lower pleasures, higher of greater value even if in smaller quantity
          • Higher pleasure: Success, love
          • Lower pleasures: Sex, food
          • Paradox of Hedonism: Seeking pleasure makes it harder to find
            • "Hedonistic utilitarianism was a pig philosophy fit only for swine"
        • Happiness is a bi-product of other activities (justice, compassion, wellbeing)
          • Different from pleasure
            • Humans reach eudemonia when they fufill their divine telos
            • "The ingredients of happiness are many."
        • Hedonistic Utilitarianism (Towards pleasure, away from pain)
          • Good is pleasure, flee from pain. "The good is that will bring about the greatest sum of pleasure and least pain for the greatest number"
            • "Each person should count for one, no person for more than one"
              • Look after your self interest
    • Strengths
      • Secular morality: No divine rule. Decisions are made on the situation not based on a metaphysical and religious a priori, flexible
      • Reformist, Bentham and Mill lead many social reforms
        • Mill campaigned with Harriet Taylor for womens suffrage
        • Poor law reform
        • Removing the juvenile death penalty
      • Democratic- Ruled by the majority, greatest good for the greatest number
    • Weaknesses
      • Paradox of Hedonism: Seeking happiness makes it harder to find
      • Lack of intrinsic goods: Evils may be justified as consequentially they 'may' lead to goods
        • War on Terror following 9/11 could be justified as it may lead to goods in the future,
      • Secular, no higher influence of right and wrong
      • Democratic fallacy: The self interested actions pof the masses overrule the educated minority view ('Tyranny of the Masses' Mill
        • e.g. Germans voting in the Nazis
      • Minority view not considered (e.g. disabled or ethical rights)

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