Ithaca Utilitarianism

Ithaca Utilitarianism - Two Objections to Utilitarianism...

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Two Objections to Utilitarianism Objection One: Utilitarianism recommends actions that seem intuitively wrong. Take promises, for instance. Commonsense moral view: Promises make a moral difference; to promise to do something is to put yourself under an obligation to do what you have promised to do. But utilitarianism, opponents charge, is “forward-looking”—it looks ahead to consequences and ignores the fact that the promise was made. Example: I promise my neighbor’s teenage son Billy $15 for mowing my lawn, and he does it. Question: pay him? Options Hedons received by… Give $15 to Billy Give $15 to Unicef Billy + 5 hedons – 2 hedons Billy’s parents --- – 3 hedons hungry kid overseas --- + 30 hedons Total + 5 hedons + 25 hedons Thus a utilitarian is morally forbidden to pay Billy.
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Two possible responses by the utilitarian: Promises themselves have consequences, since they create expectations. So Billy would get more than – 2 hedons. Breaking promises has important
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Ithaca Utilitarianism - Two Objections to Utilitarianism...

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