Lecture 2-Sept 20th – Utilitarianism, Rights-Based, Feminist Ethics, Case Study Method

Lecture 2-Sept 20th – Utilitarianism, Rights-Based, Feminist Ethics, Case Study Method

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PHIL 215 Lecture #2 Last Lecture: Virtue-Based: - Character Traits - Kind of Person: has the virtues - Results: being the best you can be, morally Duty-Based: - Duty (not God, not Reason); isn't about character; all about actions - Not results; obeying rules, following correct procedures Today: 1. Finish Moral Theory 2. Case Study Method Consequentialism: - Consequences of actions - Measurable - Verifiable - Not about character or intention Utilitarianism: - A form of consequentialism - Pleasure - Usefulness - Bentham - Secularist; Believed in health care, free vaccination; Democracy. - "Greatest Happiness for the Greatest Number" (1750) - "Ethical Science" - J.S. Mill Hedonistic Calculus
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- A or B - How much pleasure vs. how much pain does each give? - (e.g. 200 units of net utility from 250 units of pleasure and 50 units of pain) Strengths of Utilitarianism: 1. We like pleasure; pain is a drag 2. Historic Link & Progressive Reform 3. “Greatest Happiness for Greateset Number of People” seems impossible to avoid in a democracy. (--> Politics → Utilitarian Common → English-Speaking World) 4. World be better: what can I do to make the world a better / happier place? 5. Critically reflect on our lifestyle choices Peter Singer: - Famous current-day Utilitarian. - Believes strongly in vegetarianism because of animals’ capacity for pain Weaknesses of Utilitarianism: 1. Aristotle: Pleasure is not the only, or even the main, human good. 2. End Justifies the Means. (All about the end, the result). This raises the problem that Utilitarianism allows for controversial means. But this is only for “the greatest number” - leaving minority rights at a disadvantage.
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  • Spring '08
  • WILDING
  • Ethics , case study method

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