Utilitarianism

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  • Created by: T Colby
  • Created on: 25-01-16 17:32
What is the Principle of Utility?
Actions or behavious are right as long as they promote happiness or pleasure and wrong if they promote unhappiness or pain.
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What are the 7 factors considered by the Hedonic Calculus?
Intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity (remoteness), fecundity, purity and extent.
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Define intensity.
How intense the pleasure or pain is.
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Define duration.
How long the pleasure or pain lasts.
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Define certainty.
The probability that the pleasure or pain shall occur.
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Define propinquity (remoteness).
How far off in the future the pleasure or pain is.
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Define fecundity.
The probability that the pleasure will lead to other pleasures.
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Define purity.
The probability that the pain will lead to other pains . Some pleasures involve pain as well which aren't as pleasures with no pain.
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Define extent.
How many people the pleasure affects.
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What are higher pleasures?
Pleasures that stimulate the mind.
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What did John Mill (rule utilitarian) state about higher pleasures?
"Only experienced by humans".
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State an act utilitarian.
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832).
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What is act utilitarianism focused on?
Maximising pleasure.
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True or false? Act utilitarianism isn't universal.
True.
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Is act utilitarianism flexible or inflexible?
Flexible.
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What did Bentham want to create?
A system or right and wrong that would benefit all society.
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What did Bentham's Principle of Utility do?
Maximised pleasure and minimised pain.
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What did Bentham say about his Principle of Utility?
"Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pleasure and pain. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do".
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What does teleological/consequentialist mean?
Concerned with outcomes.
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What does hedonistic mean?
If it feels good then do it.
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According to act utilitarianism, what does it mean if an act is right?
More pleasure than pain or it prevents pain.
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According to act utilitarianism, what does it mean if an act is wrong?
More pain than pleasure or it prevents pleasure.
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Who is act utilitarianism focused on?
The individuals.
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True or false? Act utilitarianism is not relative.
False. It is a relative ethical theory based on each situation.
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Is act utilitarianism qualitative or quantitative?
Quantitative (Hedonic Calculus can be seen as an absolute guide to ethics).
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Who was a rule utilitarian?
John Mill (1806-1873).
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What does rule utilitarianism focus on?
The equaling of pleasure and pain.
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Is rule utilitarianism flexible or inflexible?
Flexible.
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Pick one. It is universal and qualitative or it is not universal and quanitative.
Universal and qualitative.
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What two constitutions were partly based on Mill?
French and USA.
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What did Mill use in an attempt to quantify happiness?
Hedonic Calculus.
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What did Mill question?
What counts as pleasure? One person's pleasure may be another's pain.
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What did Mill also question?
What about minorities? Not everyone can be satisfied by an action intended to promote happiness and pleasure.
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What did Mill see pleasure as?
Animal instincts (food, drink and sexual activity).
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What did Mill say about pleasure?
"It is better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied". "It is better to be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied".
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Why did Mill believe humans do not always opt for higher pleasures?
Due to ignorance.
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What are the three stages of Mill's Principle of Utility?
1. Happiness is desirable. 2. Happiness is the only thing that is desirable and is an end in itself. 3. General happiness of all is desirable. By increasing the happiness of others' you're increasing your own happiness.
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Is rule utilitarianism relative or absolute?
Absolute ethical theory.
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True or false? Rule utilitarianism is not teleological/consequentialist.
False. It is.
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Who was a preference utilitarian?
Peter Singer (1946-present)
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What is preference utilitarianism focused on?
Minimising pain.
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Is preference utilitarianism flexible or inflexible?
Flexible. Looks at other people's perspectives.
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True or false? Preference utlitarianism is quantitative.
False. It is qualitative.
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What did Singer say about preference utilitarianism?
"Our own preferences cannot account for any more than the preferences of others".
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Who did Singer think that we should take account of when acting morally?
All people affected by our actions.
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What has to happen to actions before carrying them out according to preference utilitarianism?
Have to be weighed and balanced and then we must choose the best possible consequence for those affected.
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What does preference utilitarianism not consider?
What increases pleasure and diminishes pain.
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Give an example of what Singer consideres to be right and wrong.
Killing a person who prefers to go on living is wrong and not killing a person who prefers to die is also wrong.
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Is preference utilitarianism absolute or relativist?
Relativist.
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Explain why racism is wrong according to preference utilitarianism.
It goes against the principle of acknowledging other people's interests or preferences and gives greater value to the preferences of one's own race.
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What is a competent judge?
Someone who has experienced both higher and lower pleasures.
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What is the role of a competent judge?
Help define the amount of pain/pleasure the action causes since they have experienced both.
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What is meant by absolutist?
If one person wields the power to make a moral decision that affects many people then it is absolutist.
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What is Jesus's Golden Rule?
"To do as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbour as oneself constitutes the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality"
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Who recognised Jesus's Golden Rule?
Mill.
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What did Henry Sidgwick (act utilitarian) state about higher and lower pleasures?
How can we distinguish higher and lower pleasures from each other? Which higher pleasure takes priority in moral decisions?
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What did W.D. Ross recognise about utilitarianism.
Doesn't account for complex lives and moral decisions. E.g. family takes precendence over reason.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What are the 7 factors considered by the Hedonic Calculus?

Back

Intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity (remoteness), fecundity, purity and extent.

Card 3

Front

Define intensity.

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Define duration.

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Define certainty.

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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