Utilitarianism - Revision cards

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What is utilitarianism? What is meant by teleological? Who is linked with Act
An ethical theory that is linked Teleological (or Utilitarianism? And what is it?
mainly with John Stuart Mill and consequentialist) looks at the Jeremy Bentham. Act
Jeremy Bentham. Based on the consequences of an action ­ not utilitarianism says that if an
principle of utility, which the immediate results. action brings about the most
suggests when a moral choice is Utilitarianism is teleological as it
pleasure then it is right. What is
to be made, the right action is looks at consequences ­ not the right for society, according to
the one which produces the intrinsic goodness. utilitarianism, is what creates the
greatest happiness and pleasure most happiness for the majority.
(or least pain) for the majority. Bentham said it was up to the
individual to decide what was
good and bad.
What are the stages of the Who is linked with Rule Name some strengths of
Hedonic calculus? Utilitarianism? And what is it? utilitarianism.
Calculates the amount of John Stuart Mill. He talked more Consequences have real
pleasure by considering: about qualitative rather than effects on people.
intensity, duration, certainty, quantitative pleasure. He also The principle
propinquity (how soon till it argued that not all pleasures are encourages democracy.
occurs?), fecundity, purity and equal... pleasures of the mind Interests of majority and
extent (how wide are its should take over those of the not of the dangerous
effects?) body. Mill was concerned that minority.
the hedonic calculus justified Does not depend on
lower pleasures. Rule religious beliefs and
utilitarianism says people should principles that cannot be
follow established rules and verified or universalized.
consider practical consequences.
Names some weaknesses of Name some problems with Act What are the differences in
utilitarianism. Utilitarianism. Mill's higher pleasures
Theory depends on Can pleasure be compared to lower?
accurately predicting the quantified? Higher = pleasures associated
future Is pleasure the same for with the mind: intellectual
Not every action done everyone else? pursuits, cultural activities etc.
out of good will result in Lower = pleasures associated
Can we make and
good consequences with the body: satisfying bodily
accurate prediction of
The minorities' beliefs needs for food, water, sleep
are not taken into the pleasure brought etc.
consideration. about by an action?
No allowance for
personal relationships
Who is Peter Singer and what Who is R. M. Hare and what How does preference `get
did he believe? did he believe? around' the idea that
Singer replaces `pleasures' with He argues for `preference happiness is subjective?
the `best interests' of all those utilitarianism' where an action Because it says the right thing to
concerned. should include the preferences do is to maximize the
of an individual... unless they

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How did Henry Sidgwick How did W. D. Ross criticize How do human rights conflict
criticize utilitarianism? utilitarianism? with the idea of utility?
He asked how are we to He said it was too simplistic ­ The idea of utility can be seen to
distinguish between two higher life's dilemmas are too provide grounds to deny rights
pleasures. What is better ­ to complicated to rely on a single such as freedom of speech right
listen to Bach or watch equation (i.e.…read more

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