Fundamental Tenets Of Utilitarianism Essay

904 words - 4 pages

Basic Insights of Utilitarianism
The purpose of morality is to make the world a better place.
Morality is about producing good consequences, not having good intentions
We should do whatever will bring the most benefit (i.e., intrinsic value) to all of humanity.
The Purpose of Morality
The utilitarian has a very simple answer to the question of why morality exists at all:
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Consequently, the emphasis in utilitarianism is on consequences, not intentions.
Fundamental Imperative
The fundamental imperative of utilitarianism is:
Always act in the way that will produce the greatest overall amount of good in the ...view middle of the document...

Pleasure
Definition: The enjoyable feeling we experience when a state of deprivation is replaced by fulfillment.
Bentham’s godson. He believed that happiness, not pleasure, should be the standard of utility.
Happiness
Ideal Values
G. E. Moore suggested that we should strive to maximize ideal values such as freedom, knowledge, justice, and beauty.
The world may not be a better place with more pleasure in it, but it certainly will be a better place with more freedom, more knowledge, more justice, and more beauty.
Moore’s candidates for intrinsic good remain difficult to quantify.
Preferences
Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel Prize winning Stanford economist, argued that what has intrinsic value is preference satisfaction.
The advantage of Arrow’s approach is that, in effect, it lets people choose for themselves what has intrinsic value.
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The Utilitarian Calculus
Math and ethics finally merge: all consequences must be measured and weighed.
Units of measurement:
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What do we calculate?
Hedons/dolors may be defined in terms of
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How much can we quantify?
Pleasure and preference satisfaction are easier to quantify than happiness or ideals
Two distinct issues:
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“…the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”
Utilitarianism doesn’t always have a cold and calculating face—we perform utilitarian calculations in everyday life.


Act and Rule Utilitarianism The Continuing Dispute
Criticisms of Utilitarianism
Responsibility
Utilitarianism suggests that we are responsible for all the consequences of our choices.
The problem...

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