Ethics Exam 2

Ethics Exam 2 - Ethics Exam #2 Short Essay: 1. According to...

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Ethics Exam #2 Short Essay : 1. According to Stevenson, the two main kinds of “interest theories” of the good are Egoistic and Communitarian. First though it is important to understand what an interest theory is in terms of the good, according to Stevenson. An “interest theory of the good”, is to take the most basic, ambiguous and traditional definition of the word “good” and then the ultimate goal is to break it down into its essence, into the pure and wholly relevant definition of good. This definition aims to give a wholly relevant classification of what specifically constitutes as “good”. The two interest theories of Hume (Egoistic) and Bentham (Communitarian) are partially relevant definitions that relate the good in terms of satisfaction, happiness, pleasure, or any of the other psychological states which are synonymous with satisfaction. The Egoistic interest theory of the good classifies anything that gives the individual satisfaction or pleasure as being “good” and should be considered a moral practice. This interest theory is extremely selfish and only focuses on the previously mentioned individual and no one else. The Communitarian interest theory of the good classifies anything that results in the majority or overall net satisfaction/pleasure/benefit of the group as being “good” and should be considered a moral practice. First of all, these two interest theories already fail from the start due to the problematic nature of their definitions. These interest theories are not wholly relevant or the essence of the good, they are only partially relevant definitions. However, their state of being partially relevant does not automatically make them meritless as definitions or failing to settle with our ordinary moral practices, without further study and empirical testing. The egoistic interest theory fails very simply in its selfish claim that whatever gives the individual satisfaction is considered good. However the problem exists that these interest theories are supposed to be universal, and after empirical study it is clear that what the individual finds as giving him satisfaction, which therefore makes it good, is not necessarily going to be satisfying for a different individual. There would be a large amount of disagreement over things that give the individual pleasure and is therefore good. In terms of the communitarian interest theory, it fails because it is an imperfect system that does not guarantee satisfaction from every individual in the group, even if it
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does maximize the net satisfaction of the majority. It might also be the case that even if it does maximize the net satisfaction/benefit of the group, to the individual in question making this judgment it could be something that does not give him any satisfaction. On a more broad point of its ability to be universalized, not every different community is going to agree that what one group finds to be “good”, will also be acknowledged as “good”, maximizing the net satisfaction/benefit of the group. 2.
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course PHIL 112 taught by Professor Thomasnadelhoffer during the Spring '06 term at Dickinson.

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Ethics Exam 2 - Ethics Exam #2 Short Essay: 1. According to...

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