Lecture_2 - Lecture 2 Utilitarianism I What Utilitarianism...

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Utilitarianism I. What Utilitarianism is II. Essential Features of Utilitarianism III. The Method of Utilitarianism IV. Critical Examination of Utilitarianism Lecture 2:
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What utilitarianism is Utilitarianism: the idea that a morally right action (or what a person morally ought to do) is one that will bring about maximum good ( happiness or preference-satisfaction ) on the whole for affected parties. -A theory to determine future actions, not to evaluate actions already done. -Inaction is regarded as a kind of action. -What one ought to do depends on the consequences of feasible alternatives in a given situation. - “Affected parties” means all those who will be pleased (satisfied) or afflicted (dissatisfied) by the action in question, directly or indirectly. -The better its consequence, the more ethical the alternative. The morally right act is the one that maximizes happiness or satisfaction. Nakano-Okuno
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The Meaning of happiness or satisfaction “Happiness” : equal to pleasure, or constituted by pleasures- more precisely, the surplus of pleasure over pain . -Pleasure : the kinds of feelings which are desired by the agent himself, and which can be expressed as “agreeable’ or “desirable” feelings -Pain: the “undesirable” feelings that are disliked and averted by the agent. - Happiness needs not to be “pure.” A person’s overall state of mind can be called happy, if it contains pleasure that overweighs pain. -Pleasure is used in quite a broad sense to include any kind of agreeable feeling. Nakano-Okuno
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“Preference - satisfaction” : Fulfillment of one’s desire, hope and wishes, and prevention or avoidance of what one dislikes. -Preference : one’s inclinations, likings, or desires - A person’s preference may partly be displayed in his/her choice, but may not always be explicit. To understand what he truly prefers, we should try to know him very well - by asking him directly, or by guessing from his overall behavior, demeanor and utterance. The Meaning of happiness or satisfaction Nakano-Okuno
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II. Essential Features of Utilitarianism
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Four features of utilitarianism -For utilitarians, right acts produce the (2) greatest amount of (3) good (1) consequences for the (4) greatest number of beings. 1. Consequentialism: Consequences count. Utilitarians consider the consequences of an action to determine the rightness of that act. 2. Maximization principle: The number of people affected by consequences matters; the more people, the more important the effect. 3. A theory of value (or of “good”): Good consequences are defined by pleasure (hedonic utilitarianism) or what people prefer (preference utilitarianism). 4. Impartial consideration for all parties affected: Each being’s happiness is to count as one and no more. Adapted from Gregory E. Pence, “Classic Cases in Medical Ethics,” 4 th ed.
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-Bentham and Mill are hedonists . They believe that only pleasure or happiness can be intrinsically good.
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