UTI 3 - Utilitarianism: Part III CU RU IU Reading Please do...

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1 Utilitarianism: Part III CU RU IU Reading Please do reading R5. R5 = CH. 5 of Rachels, “Psychological Egoism” RU: Two levels of consideration (meta & object levels). AU: only one level.
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2 RU applies to types of actions. CU applies to individual actions. RU allows for the mechanical (non- utilitarian) obeying of the (object) rules. AU does not. Commonsense Morality Do not lie. Do not steal. Harm no one. Keep your promises…
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3 persons generally followed CSM the utility of all would be promoted (or maximized). AU and CSM are not compatible. Central Utilitarian Intuition Do that action, which maximizes the good.
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4 Utilitarian Reasoning We might employ some thought experiments in order to understand better Utilitarianism. A thought experiment for our purposes is a hypothetical case that we’ll resolve playing the role of a utilitarian. Thought Experiments A man’s wife is in dire need of a particular medication, without it she will probably die. The man cannot afford to pay for the medication and the pharmacist will not lower the price. What should the man do? Thought Experiments Babs, while at the Mall, sees her best friend’s husband, Bill, on a date with another woman. She realizes if she tells her best friend about Bill, their marriage will probably end (or, at least, will become a loveless sham, maintained for appearance sake). What should she do?
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5 Thought Experiments Joe is at home one evening when a knock occurs at his door. It is his friend Bob, who says, hide me from my insane accounting professor. Joe does. A second knock. There in the open doorway is a crazy accounting professor inquiring to the whereabouts of Bob. Should Joe lie? Thought Experiments Jill is approached by two people who identify themselves as FBI agents (she confirms that in fact they are). The FBI agents request Jill’s aid in acquiring evidence that Jill’s boss has been selling classified evidence to terrorists (there’s no doubt that he is doing so, but no evidence usable in court has been obtained). They request that Jill sleep with her boss and in order to get him to reveal his secrets. Stopping him would be in the national good. Should she? Thought Experiments Pat is in a bar when a band of crazed hippies burst in and take everyone hostage. Pat is told that unless s/he kills one of the other bar patrons, the hippies will kill all the rest. What should s/he do?
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6 Thought Experiments Could it ever be morally permissible to torture someone? Thought Experiments What if a captured terrorist will not reveal the location of a nuclear device, which, if detonated, will kill a million or more Americans. Could the government legitimately and morally torture that person to obtain the info? CU and Social Policy
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This note was uploaded on 06/08/2008 for the course PHIL 203 taught by Professor Jordan during the Spring '08 term at University of Delaware.

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UTI 3 - Utilitarianism: Part III CU RU IU Reading Please do...

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