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Lecture05 - Rethinking Modern Technology £“ ∙ “...

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Unformatted text preview: Rethinking Modern Technology £“ ( ∙ ¶ “* * Lau Chong­Fuk 2008­09 First Term Lecture 5 Consequentialism Utilitarianism ( ( Utilitarianism ( � ► Major Advocates / (� � ¶ ) ∙� ► Basic Principle Jeremy Bentham, English philosopher (1748­1832) John Stuart Mill, English philosopher (1806­1873) Basic ideas of utilitarianism can be traced back to Mozi ( ( � ) (470E­390BC) An act is morally right if and only if it maximizes the good, i.e., when the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all caused by that act is greatest among all possible alternatives. If pleasure is the only intrinsic good and pain the only intrinsic bad, then an act is morally right if and only if it causes the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Consequentialism ( ( � ¶ Consequentialism ( � ∙ � ) ► Consequentialism (opposed to Deontology) The view that moral rightness depends on consequences, i.e., anything that happens before the act is irrelevant. Utilitarianism is one kind of consequentialism, in fact, the paradigm case of consequentialism. A morally right action is an action which produces good (or even the best) consequences. Different kinds of consequentialism have different understandings of “goodness”. Main Kinds of Consequentialism Main Kinds of Consequentialism ► Hedonistic Consequentialism ( ( � ► Eudaimonic Consequentialism ( ( � ► Pluralistic Consequentialism ( ( � Utilitarianism is a Hedonistic Consequentialism. Pleasure is the only intrinsic good. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Hedonism ) A full, flourishing life is the intrinsic good. There are more than one kinds of intrinsic good like pleasure, beauty, knowledge, friendship, love, freedom, ability, life, virtue… ) ) Act Utilitarianism and its Problems Act Utilitarianism and its Problems ► Act Utilitarianism ► Typical Criticisms of Act Utilitarianism Classical utilitarianism is an “act utilitarianism”. An act is morally right if and only if it causes the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Voyeurism ( ( � ) Mercy Clinic / Happy Slave Society Experience Machine Is it too demanding? Rule Utilitarianism Rule Utilitarianism ► Rule Utilitarianism ( Ł ∙ ( ► The Mercy Clinic Revisited The utilitarian principle does not apply directly to individual acts, but to general rules. An act is morally right if and only if it follows a rule whose acceptance causes the greatest happiness for the greatest number. “Whenever a surgeon could kill one person to save many patients, he ought to do so.” It isn’t a good rule, so the act is wrong. ¶“ * ) Remarks on Ethics Principle vs. Intuition Principle vs. Intuition ► Moral Principles ( ( � ► Moral Intuitions ( ( � � ∙ Deontology vs. Utilitarianism (Consequentialism) How to judge which theory is more reasonable? Appeal to moral intuitions (e.g. lying to save lives, happy slave society, mercy clinic…) Why do we need a moral theory at all if we can rely on our moral intuitions? Moral intuitions are sometimes unreliable (e.g. �¶ ) ∙� � ¶ ) Applied Ethics Applied Ethics ► Approaching a Coherent View ► Issues in Applied Ethics Paradigm cases vs. marginal cases Testing and refining moral principles Try to think and judge consistently! Usually don’t have simple solutions. The major aim is to understand the various considerations and to avoid making arbitrary or inconsistent judgments. References References ► J. Rachels/S. Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 5th ed., New York: McGraw­Hill, 2006. ...
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