Ethics: Utilitarianism

Jeremy Bentham's Principal of Utility
Actions are right if they promote happiness or pleasure, bad if they produce unhappiness or pain
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Act Utilitarianism
The moral doctrine that one should always seek the greatest balance of good over evil. *DOES NOT FOCUS ON ACT* teleological theory
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Hedonistic Approach
the good is pleasure and nothing else is the good- Bentham developed hedonic calculus to help work out what the best action is based on the best pleasure in the outcome. first mathematical approach to moral dilemmas
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Quntitative utilitarian approach
the idea of producing the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. iconic in bentham's time as majority were the poor
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Problem with the greatest good for the greatest number
1. compromises the premise of of utilitarianism, as it entails a principle of justice- and a very bad one- as well as one of doing good. 2. there are now 2 principles, do good and distribute it in this way 'love your neighbour as yourself' the same?
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Rule Utilitarianism
Mill- we should always follow the rule that will lead to the greatest balance of good over evil. e.g a parent telling her child not to lie, steal or play in train tracks is viable because she knows that if everyone followed the rules we'll be better
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Difference between act and rule
Act: calculate what action will have the best outcome (good/pleasure over bad/pain) Rule: always follow the rules that lead to the greatest good over evil
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Peter Singer- Preference Utilitarianism
we should look to seek as the good that which we would rationally prefer as an outcome, even though it may not be in our best interests- seen as altruistic
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Altruism
any theory that puts the needs of others first is altruisitic
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Rational utilitarian
Singer believes that we need to apply strictly and unemtionally the principles of utilitarianism. thinking in a rational way. e.g .no more outraged by slaughter of dogs than i am by the slaughter of pigs'
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Objections to Utilitarianism: Manipulated
the quntitative approach of act utilitarianism can be manipulated so that gang **** can be seen as the best action as it is providing the most pleasure for the most amount of people.
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Hedonism is wrong?
the idea that good= pleasure is rejected by many as they believe that good is not just pleasure.
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Predicting outcomes
the argument against most teleological theories is that are we actually capable of predicting outcomes? and if so how capable are we?
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Time to choose when faced with a dilemma
if someone was being held hostage, we would not have the time or opportunity to sit there and calculate which action will have the greatest balance of good over evil. therefore, hedonic calculus is unapplicable to real life situations.
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Intellectual ability
we need sufficient intellectual ability to make the appropriate decisions. this is not true at all stages in life or for every person.
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Kantian objection
'act as to treat everyone, always as ends and never as means only. Kantians and others would argue that Utili treats people as seconds to a pleasure or general form of happiness. the good for a person should be more than general good.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Act Utilitarianism

Back

The moral doctrine that one should always seek the greatest balance of good over evil. *DOES NOT FOCUS ON ACT* teleological theory

Card 3

Front

Hedonistic Approach

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Quntitative utilitarian approach

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Problem with the greatest good for the greatest number

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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