Utilitarianism+Discussion

Utilitarianism+Discussion - I. Definition of Utilitarianism...

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I. Definition of Utilitarianism Happiness = pleasure and the absence of pain (a) Happiness/pleasure is the only one thing desirable in itself Greatest Happiness Principle = the ultimate end, with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable (whether we are considering our own good or that of other people), is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality” (Mill, Utilitarianism , p. 464). Rightness of Actions = Actions are right only insofar as they maximize happiness (decrease unhappiness) Maximization = Greatest amount of happiness for the greatest about of people Maximize; basically, increase as much happiness in as many people Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism = an act is right if the consequences are good (nothing intrinsic to the nature of the act or anything that happens before the act); it is the consequences rather than maxim (or some variant) determines the rightness of an action Utility of happiness is the directive rule of human conduct II. Importance of Calculation in Utilitarianism The Calculation of “Hedons” or Hedonic Calculus “Hedon” = quantifiable unit of pleasure or happiness * The ability to calculate hedons takes into consideration various factors: A. The Inherent Characteristics of Pleasure and Pain 1. Intensity = each pleasure and pain has some intensity (low, mid-range, high) 2. Duration = pleasure and pains have a lasting duration 3. Probability = that pleasure or pain will follow the act 4. Nearness in time = duration to wait for pleasure or pain in order to act B. Consequential Characteristics of Pleasure and Pain 1. Fecundity = probability that sensations of one type will follow from sensations of the same type 2. Impurity = probability that sensations of one type will follow sensations of an opposite type C. Summation of All Pleasures Resulting from the Act 1. Extent = the extent of the pleasure or pain following the act Although Mill’s utilitarianism is similar to Bentham’s in that it calculates and compares quantities of hedons, he proposes a distinction in the first category - the inherent characteristics of pleasure and pain – that takes into
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2012 for the course ECON 25 taught by Professor Shirey during the Spring '11 term at UC Irvine.

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Utilitarianism+Discussion - I. Definition of Utilitarianism...

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