Rule Utilitarianism- John Stuart Mill

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Rule Utilitarianism- John Stuart Mill

Rule Utilitarianism- John Stuart Mill- "Greatest good for the greatest number" Teleological- Theory based on a definition of goodness as the balance of happiness over misery.Rules take priority over immediate situation

  • Focuses on rules which everyone should follow to bring about the greatest good, rule established by determining the course of action
  • Believed happiness is best gained by making choices through rules that were for the common good of all
  • Mill- Argued that Happiness is most likely to be maximised by generally following a set of rules, which society has found by experiance
  • Qualitatve, Concerned with quality of pleasure
  • Strong rule: The rules that you derive should never be broken in any circumstance
  • Weak rule: Should be accepted rules- But not always adhered to
  • Higher pleasures: Only humans can experiance this, well being of individual is important- Concerned that one persons pleasure is completely extinguished if majority gained pleasure from act
  • Lower pleasure: Physical pleaures, less intellectual. Not all pleasures are of equal value. Those who lack intelligence & character choose bodily pleasures
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Preference Utilitarianism- Peter singer

Preference Utilitarianism- Peter singer- "Our preferences cannot count any more than the preferences of others"

  • Bases his ethics on one good of maximising the first preferences of sentient (feelings) beings
  • Develops in manner of decision making whereby the view of minorities is taken into considertation
  • Judges an action as right/wrong by asking if it fits with rational preference
  • Believes everyone's interests are of equal value
  • Rather than basing a decision on a calculation of pain VS pleasure, it's better to do whats best intrests the greater number
  • Believes in minimisng suffering, rather than maximising pleasure
  • Best consequence is one that has best intrests of the individual involved

-Strengths: Straightforward: Maximise pleasure, minimise pain. Consistency- Singer's Preference Utilitarianism gives a consistent method for judging ethical dilemmas

-Weaknesses: W.D Ross- Ignores the importance of duty. John Rawis- Too impersonal

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Strengths & weaknesses

  • Act Utilitarianism:

-Strengths: Simplicity- Simplicty of application in Benthem's application, easy to use. Common sense- Moral judgements fit with our commonsense view of morality. Tries to make the world better- Promotes happiness. Flexible- Allows each situation to be judged differently

- Weaknesses: Pleasure is not the highest form people aspire to- Minority people get can be exploited. W.D Ross- Argued that lifes ethical dilemmmas cannot be answered with a simple calculus that balances outcomes, We have duties that take priority over the "greater good". Measuring pleasure- Possible to measure pleasure? Pleasure is a subjective concept

  • Rule Utilitarianism

-Strengths: No counterintuitive consequences- Higher & lower pleasures- Mill overcomes this problem. Equality- Mill adds equal rights. Common sense- The moral judgement fits with our commonsense view of morality, Mill's version argues we should generally follow rules

-Weaknesses: Elitislt- Mill says that an intellectual man is capable of making true moral decision making- Implies that only most educated can be the most moral, since they "have experianced the best things in life". Alasidair Macintyre- Mill is an "inconsistent Utilitarinism", we use generations of past experiances to form rules

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