Utilitarianism

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  • Created by: manyfrogs
  • Created on: 08-03-16 19:49
Briefly outline the principle of utility.
An action is right if it promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number. It is wrong if it does not do this.
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Identify five features of pleasure/pain according to Bentham’s utility calculus.
Duration, Intensity, Propinquity, Extent, Certainty, Purity, Fecundity
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Briefly distinguish between a higher and a lower pleasure, according to Mill.
Higher pleasures, like reading poetry or listening to classical music are pleasures of the intellect. Lower pleasures are physical pleasures e.g. sex, eating and drinking
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Define ‘act utilitarianism’.
The act utilitarian will often be guided by rules of thumb, like ‘don’t lie’ or ‘don’t steal’.  These are useful because it is hard to calculate the effects of every action. But they can be broken if they fail to promote the greatest happiness.
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What is rule utilitarianism?
An action is right if it follows a rule that generally promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
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Define ‘preference utilitarianism’.
An action is right if it maximizes the satisfaction of preferences of all of those involved. An action is wrong if it frustrates preferences.
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Briefly say why the utilitarian has problems with calculation.
We cannot always know what the distant consequences of our actions are going to be; how can we determine what to do?
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In short, what is the problem for utilitarianism presented by our personal relationships?
Utilitarianism is an impartial theory. When deciding how to act, we should not put one person’s pleasures or pains above another’s. But arguably we have special duties to those closest to us.
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Briefly identify why utilitarianism might not account for an agent’s character
Jim and the Indians, the dilemma of 1 against 19.
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Identify why utilitarianism might fail to account for individual liberties/rights.
Act utilitarianism suggests that certain acts, which violate peoples’ liberties, would be correct, as they bring about the greatest happiness.
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Briefly note why utilitarianism fails to account for the value of certain motives
Utilitarianism is solely concerned with whether the greatest happiness is produced, and says nothing about different people’s motivations.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Identify five features of pleasure/pain according to Bentham’s utility calculus.

Back

Duration, Intensity, Propinquity, Extent, Certainty, Purity, Fecundity

Card 3

Front

Briefly distinguish between a higher and a lower pleasure, according to Mill.

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Define ‘act utilitarianism’.

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is rule utilitarianism?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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