doesn't that establish trust and respect which is also a principle of a happy society? ° By itself, the Principle is a very demanding one ° applying it to individual acts is difficult ° how do I know, for sure, the greatest happiness of all of my actions ° splurging on Christmas gifts for my children rather than using all that money to buy gifts for the poor ° Applying it to rules is just as difficult ° sometimes the Principle of Utility justifies unfair rules ° slavery ° experimenting medically on a chosen few for the benefit of the majority ° stem cell research at the expense of the stem cell ° the draft lottery for a just or unjust war
Criticisms of Hedonism Criticism #1: Utilitarianism appeals to the Base Nature of Man – to suppose that life has no higher end than pleasure they designate as utterly mean and groveling worthy only of swine . This attitude is a reflection of the Victorian Principles in play during the lifetime of John Stuart Mill: The term represents the moral of the people living in the Victorian time. It especially refers to the moral climate in general in Great Britain during the 19th century. Victorian morality can be described as a set of values that supported sexual repression, low tolerance of crime, and a strong social ethic . Due to the enormous impact and importance of the British Empire, many of these values were spread across the world. ° For Utilitarians, “pleasure” is more than just sensations- Hedonism ° It delves into the arena of happiness and gratification ° This introduces the concept of quality as superior to quantity ° mental over bodily ° intrinsic rather than circumstantial ° Therefore, there are differences in pleasures – some being more desired than others. Criticism #2: Utilitarianism is selfish and self-centered interested only in maximizing the pleasure of the individual ° The happiness which forms the Utilitarian standard of what is right conduct is not the agent's own happiness, but that of all concerned ° The Golden Rule ° this requires ° the laws and social arrangements of society should place the happiness or interest of every individual as nearly as possible in harmony with the interest of the whole; and ° education in choosing what's most beneficial for the 'general good' of all – (counterexample - how about SLAVERY?) ° To do this requires a “disinterested” character (a la Rawls) ° Therefore, the multiplication of happiness is the object of virtue – on a small social scale or on the greater scale of society Criticism #3: Utilitarianism sets the bar too high in moral decisions for society as a whole ° Critics confound the rule of action with the motive of it. It is the business of ethics to tell us what are our duties or by what test we may know them; but no system of ethics requires that the sole motive of all that we do shall be a feeling of duty.
- Fall '19
- Feminism, Thomas Dudley