# U TILITARIANISM PHIL 320 (Ethics) – July 3, 2013.

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U TILITARIANISM PHIL 320 (Ethics) – July 3, 2013

T HE G REATEST H APPINESS P RINCIPLE AND THE F ELICIFIC C ALCULUS

B ENTHAM ON P LEASURE To a person to consider by himself, the value of a pleasure or pain considered by itself, will be greater or less, according to the... following circumstances: Intensity Duration Certainty (or Uncertainty) Propinquity (or Remoteness) Fecundity Purity Extent

B ENTHAM S F ELICIFIC C ALCULUS (S TAGE 1) Of the value of each distinguishable pleasure which appears to be produced by it in the first instance. Of the value of each pain which appears to be produced by it in the first instance. Of the value of each pleasure which appears to be produced by it after the first. This constitutes the fecundity of the first pleasure and the impurity of the first pain. Of the value of each pain which appears to be produced by it after the first. This constitutes the fecundity of the first pain and the impurity of the first pleasure.

B ENTHAM S F ELICIFIC C ALCULUS (S TAGE 2) Sum up all the values of all the pleasures on the one side, and those of all the pains on the other. The balance, if it be on the side of pleasure, will give the good tendency of the act upon the whole, with respect to the interests of that individual person; if on the side of pain, the bad tendency of it upon the whole. Take an account of the number of persons whose interests appear to be concerned; and repeat the above process with respect to each.

B ENTHAM S F ELICIFIC C ALCULUS (S TAGE 3) Sum up the numbers expressive of the degrees of good tendency, which the act has, with respect to each individual, in regard to whom the tendency of it is good upon the whole: do this again with respect to each individual, in regard to whom the tendency of it is bad upon the whole. Take the balance ; which, if on the side of pleasure, will give the general good tendency of the act, with respect to the total number of community of individuals concerned; if on the side of pain, the general evil tendency, with respect to the same community.

M ILL S P ROOF OF THE G REATEST H APPINESS P RINCIPLE People desire their own happiness for its own sake. If some is desired for its own sake, then it is desirable. Thus, each persons own happiness is desirable for that person (from 1 and 2). If something is desirable, then it is intrinsically good. Therefore, ones own happiness is an intrinsic good for oneself (from 3 and 4). If each persons own happiness is an intrinsic good for that person, then the general happiness is intrinsically good for the aggregate of persons. Thus, the general happiness is an intrinsic good for the aggregate of persons (from 5 and 6). All other things besides the general happiness that are desired for themselves are really only desired as parts of the end of general happiness. THEREFORE, THE GENERAL HAPPINESS IS THE SOLE INTRINSIC GOOD (from 7 and 8).

M ILL S D EFENSE OF U TILITARIANISM (Class Handout)

U TILITARIANISM AS A M ORAL T HEORY

U TILITARIANISM AS A M ORAL T HEORY (T HEORY OF V ALUE ) HAPPINESS is intrinsically good; it is the summum bonum (the highest good). PAIN is intrinsically bad. The extrinsic value of value-neutral things or states of affairs depends on whether they contribute to happiness or not. Something is extrinsically good if it contributes to happiness without much pain. Something is extrinsically bad if it produces more pain than happiness.

U TILITARIANISM AS A M ORAL T HEORY (T HEORY OF C ONDUCT ) THE GREATEST HAPPINESS PRINCIPLE: Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. ACT-UTILITARIANISM 1. Calculate the amount of happiness produced to all of the people involved in the scenario. 2. Calculate the amount of pain produced to all of the people involved in the scenario. 3. If pain produced exceeds happiness produced, the action is FORBIDDEN. 4. If happiness produced exceeds pain produced, the action is PERMISSIBLE. 5. If the net happiness produced is greater than the net happiness produced by some other (alternative) activity, the action that produces the greatest net happiness is OBLIGATORY.

U TILITARIANISM AS A M ORAL T HEORY (T HEORY OF C HARACTER ) A person is VIRTUOUS if one has a character that overall contributes to the greatest happiness. Competent Judge Nimble Calculator of Consequences Move Beyond Act-Utilitarianism to Rule- Utilitarianism A person is VICIOUS if one has a character that does not contribute to the greatest happiness. Egoist (does not move from ones own sense of happiness to the notion of the greatest happiness) Not Nimble at Calculating Consequences Unsanctioned Moral Training

S ANCTIONS (M ORAL T RAINING ) EXTERNAL SANCTIONS are pleasures and pains meted out in response to a given behavior in order to encourage or deter the behavior Punishment of crime Detention Embarrassment INTERNAL SANCTIONS are self-produced sanctions that affirm or deny certain actions or behaviors within oneself Pride Shame