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Chapter4:Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism -

- The belief that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority.
- The belief that an action is right in so far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness
of the greatest number should be the guiding principle…

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Mill rejected Bentham's simplistic view of the causes of human happiness.
Mill argued that actions themselves do not make people happy; it is necessary to have the right conditions as
well.
Happiness is causally complex.
This led Mill to develop basic principles that must be upheld to ensure that the…

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Bentham, for example, regarded reading poetry and playing music as less important than playing the child's
game of push-pin.
A child's game can be played by anyone. Poetry and music are understood by a few.
The utilitarian principle of `the greatest good of the greatest number' means that a child's…

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1. Purity of the sensation, meaning that it is not followed by sensations of pain.
2. Remoteness or nearness of the sensation.
3. Intensity of the sensation
4. Certainty of the sensation.
5. Extent of the sensation, meaning the number of people affected.
6. Duration of the sensation.
7. Fecundity…

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3. Mills notion of the teleology of happiness, which suggests that higher pleasures lead to human progress, is
weak. Progress can be made equally by lower pleasures as by higher pleasures.
4. There is arrogance in Mill's ideas of higher and lower pleasures. His comment that lower pleasures are
`worthy…

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RuleUtilitarianism

Rule Utilitarianism ­ theory that life is too short to judge every action on the basis of `the greatest good of the
greatest number'. Instead rules exist, which are based on the maximization of happiness principle that make it easier
to act.

Rule Utilitarianism is in contrast to Act…

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Preference utilitarian's argue that every human being wants a good life.
Preference utilitarian's go on to argue that individual preferences relate to the need for a good life.
A manifest preference is what you prefer; which is based on immediate desires and needs.
A true preference is based on reflecting…

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Singer justifies his Preference Utilitarianism be arguing that when informed preferences are fulfilled human
beings enjoy a good life. This is what he desires for himself and therefore, he argues, this must be logically
true for all human beings, other things being equal.

ActUtilitarianism

Act Utilitarianism ­ theory that individual…

Page 9

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When making a moral decision, you must respond to the immediate consequences of your actions. It
is not possible to be certain about the long-term effects of what you decide.
This is one of the strengths of modern Act Utilitarianism. It allows exceptions to a particular rule or
law if…

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