Medical Ethics Darin Harootunian 10/3/11 2 There are several “technical” termsthat need to be explained: happiness, unhappiness, maximize the net amount (or minimizethe net amount), and affected parties. We’ll consider these technical terms in a moment. For now, consider what is sometimes called the Principle of Utility, or perhaps the Greatest Happiness Principle: The Principle of Utility (or Greatest Happiness Principle): Always act so as to maximize the net amount of happiness across all affected parties. Notice that the Principle of Utility is an imperative. It doesn’t tell us which acts are morally right. AU, a criterion of rightness, took care of that. The Principle of Utility, as formulated here, tells us what to do: Act so as to maximize the net amount of happiness across all the parties affected by it! Remember that AU is not a form of Ethical Egoism (EE). The moral agent according to EE is self-interested. The moral agent according to AU is disinterested–
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