Phil_103_CH_9 - Phil 103 CH 9 Consequentialism u25cf John...

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Phil 103 CH 9 Consequentialism John Wesley o English religious thinker and founder of the Meth- odist Church o Our business here on earth is to do good—as much and as often as we can. Our efforts must extend beyond ourselves, to all whom we might help. Benevolence should be our guiding aim, and a life of altruism and good works should be the record we leave behind. consequentialist outlook: do as much good as you can. o G. E. Moore (1873–1958) what is right is whatever produces the most good Acts are morally right just because they maximize the amount of goodness in the world. Optimific o such as to yield the greatest balance of benefits over drawbacks Consequentialists are those who encourage us not to cry over spilt milk. They direct our attention to the future, not the past. They ask us to look at the consequences of our actions or policies—hence the name of their theory. o the ends justify the means, so long as the ends are good enough o Did my action achieve better results than any other I could have done? If so, then my action was morally required. If not, then it wasn’t. Structure o Consequentialism says that an action is morally required just because it pro- duces the best overall results (i.e., is optimific). o Five steps 1. First, identify what is intrinsically good—valuable in and of itself, and worth having for its own sake. Familiar candidates include happiness, autonomy, knowledge, and virtue. 2. Next, identify what is intrinsically bad (i.e., bad all by itself). Ex- amples might include physical pain, mental anguish, sadistic im- pulses, and the betrayal of innocents. 3. Then determine all of your options. Which actions are open to you at the moment? 4. For each option, determine the value of its results. How much of what is intrinsically good will each action bring about? How much of what is intrinsically bad? 5. Finally, pick the action that yields the greatest net balance of good over bad. That is the optimific choice. That is your moral duty. Doing anything else is immoral. o ethical egoism, the view we considered in the last chapter, is a form of consequentialism. It identifies just one thing—one’s own self-interest—as intrinsically good, and tells us that morally right actions are those that maximize this value.
o Thus consequentialism isn’t just a single theory, but is rather a family of theories, united by their agreement that results are what matter in ethics. o act utilitarianism well-being is the only thing that is intrinsically valuable an action is morally required just because it does more to improve overall well- being than any other action you could have done in the circumstances. principle of utility , according to act utili- tarianism, acts are right just because they maximize the overall amount of well-being in the world o Maximizing goodness John Stuart Mill create the greatest good for the greatest number Mill was a hedonist, who believed that only happiness was intrinsi- cally valuable and only misery was intrinsically bad.

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