Summary - Chapter 27 (Williams)

Summary - Chapter 27 (Williams) - Chapter 27 Summary...

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Chapter 27 Summary Williams: A Critique of Utilitarianism Overview: o Utilitarianism is said to imply that we are just as responsible for failing to prevent another person from causing harm as we are for actively causing the same amount of harm. Contrasts with “Each of us is specially responsible for what he does, rather than what other people do.” o Utilitarianism requires that we abandon our own commitments whenever doing so will maximize utility This alienates a person from the projects and attitudes with which he is most closely identified. This undermines the agents integrity Consequentalism: things I do, or is produced by what I do, or in which people do things I have allowed them to do: all these are consequences of what I do o It makes no difference whether the causation of a given state of affairs lies through the agent or another. o Negative Responsibility: IF I am ever responsible for anything, then I must be just as responsible for things that I allow or fail to prevent. o What matters is what states of affairs the world contains, and so what matters with respect to a given action is what comes about if it is done, and what comes about if it is not done. o Principle of Impartiality: there can be no relevant difference from a moral point of view which consists just in fact, that benefits or harms accrue to one person rather than to
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This note was uploaded on 03/23/2008 for the course PHI 202 taught by Professor Michaela.smith during the Spring '08 term at Princeton.

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Summary - Chapter 27 (Williams) - Chapter 27 Summary...

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