Utilitarianism - Utilitarianism Ethics 101 Bobro Rachels,...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–10. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Bobro Rachels, EMP, chapter 6 Q: Should SBCC keep its smoking policy the way it is? (Utilitarian thinking is useful here.) Utilitarianism
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Utilitarianism was originally proposed by David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill, all Brits of some kind or other. We will read and discuss Mill in particular. Utilitarianism emerged after the French Revolution, the American Revolutionary War, the end of the Napoleonic Empire, the European Revolutions of 1848, and the Industrial Revolution. In the air were the ideas of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. There was a new kind of national constitution, in America and in France. Societies were being restructured in the Western World. It became important that everyone be happy. Everyone should be allowed to pursue happiness, even find it! A new conception of morality accompanied these "enlightened" ideas, especially in Britain (England & Scotland). What was this new conception? Morality was taken to represent the attempt to bring about as much happiness as possible in the world. According to Bentham, there is one ultimate moral principle:
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY Whenever we have a choice between alternative actions or social policies, we must choose the one that has the best overall consequences for everyone affected or involved. So utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism. Q: What makes one consequence better than another? Consequences are measured in terms of happiness. So, morality requires that in deciding what to do, we should ask what course of action would promote the greatest amount of happiness for all those who will be affected.
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
You might reply: "So what?" What's so different about this account of morality? Well, there is no reference to God. There is no reference to a set of rules (no Ten Commandments, etc.). It’s also very egalitarian and impartial. Even unsentimental. In dealing with the issue of building an on-campus dorm, you might not have seen just how radical Utilitarianism is. So consider the moral issues of euthanasia and animal rights, as discussed by Rachels. EUTHANASIA CASE (§6.2) Discuss. (One interesting point is that many utilitarians think that in the case of euthanasia the compassion we show to animals should also be extended to humans.) ANIMALS CASE (§6.3)
Background image of page 6
Discuss. (Here of course utilitarians think that on the whole we do not show enough compassion to animals.) John Stuart Mill, "Utilitarianism," 93-9
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
GREATEST HAPPINESS PRINCIPLE Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. 1. Happiness =df pleasure and absence of pain
Background image of page 8
2. Unhappiness =df pain and absence of pleasure The only desirable ends are pleasure and freedom from pain. Often people associate the seeking of pleasure with HEDONISM (Rachels, 101). But hedonism connotes self-centered pleasure-seeking, and Utilitarianism is far from self-centered. Discuss.
Background image of page 9

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 10
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 27

Utilitarianism - Utilitarianism Ethics 101 Bobro Rachels,...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 10. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online