Strengths/Weaknesses of Utilitarianism

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Promotion of 'evil pleasures'
So called 'evil pleasures' can be quite easily promoted/allowed - e.g. Sadistic Guard Scenario: 2 guards are torturing a prisoner - Act Util would allow this because the scenario is providing the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people
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Why is the promotion of 'evil pleasures' a problem?
Because minority groups could hugely suffer at the expense of the happiness of others and an individual/minority will fail to be protected
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Counterargument: Mill's removal of the need for the Hedonic Calculus
Humans already know what is moral/immoral through trial and error and creation of moral laws (e.g. 'do not kill') would mean humans wouldn't allow the torture because of the ability to see it as immoral, as HPs we seek aren't present duringtorture
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How can Mill's removal of the need for the Hedonic Calculus be argued against?
Pleasure is subjective to every person, so someone may not value justice just because someone else does
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How does Henry Sedgwick back up this argument against Mill?
He says Mill gives us no way of distinguishing between pleasure types. How can we then decide which are lower and higher?
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What is another criticism against Bentham's Calculus?
It is too time consuming and complicated to apply, particularly in situations where a quick and on the spot decision is needed
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How can the argument of the Calculus being too time consuming be argued against?
It could be argued that Bentham's intention for the theory was to bring about social reform rather than personal moral decision making
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Because minority groups could hugely suffer at the expense of the happiness of others and an individual/minority will fail to be protected

Back

Why is the promotion of 'evil pleasures' a problem?

Card 3

Front

Humans already know what is moral/immoral through trial and error and creation of moral laws (e.g. 'do not kill') would mean humans wouldn't allow the torture because of the ability to see it as immoral, as HPs we seek aren't present duringtorture

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Pleasure is subjective to every person, so someone may not value justice just because someone else does

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

He says Mill gives us no way of distinguishing between pleasure types. How can we then decide which are lower and higher?

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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