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Egoism Psychological & Ethical Egoism Ought implies can: In order for you to have a moral obligation to do something, it has to be possible for you to.

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Presentation on theme: "Egoism Psychological & Ethical Egoism Ought implies can: In order for you to have a moral obligation to do something, it has to be possible for you to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Egoism Psychological & Ethical Egoism Ought implies can: In order for you to have a moral obligation to do something, it has to be possible for you to do it. Psych egoism + “ought implies can” = ethical egoism (or Social Contract Theory) as the only possible absolutist moral theory

2 Egoism Calvinism Accepts psych egoism Rejects ethical egoism (accepts Divine Command Theory) Calvinism can only do the above by rejecting “ought implies can” You have a moral obligation to obey God’s command even though your selfish “sin nature” (inherited from Adam) makes it impossible.

3 Utilitarianism Nozick’s Experience Machine The fact that most people wouldn’t hook themselves up shows they value something other than pleasurable experiences.

4 Utilitarianism When calculating how much pleasure an action will produce, one should consider Intensity Duration Fecundity (capacity for “growing” more pleasures) Consequences must be calculated for everyone, not just oneself.

5 Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill ( ) Developed Utilitarianism into a popular system His name, not Bentham’s is synonymous with Utilitarianism today

6 Utilitarianism Objection: Utilitarianism is a crass, hedonistic philosophy Mill’s reply: Some pleasure are qualitatively better than other (quality vs. quantity)

7 Utilitarianism Mill’s defense: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.” Not all pleasures are created equally. We know some pleasure are better than others because people familiar with both prefer higher pleasures.

8 Utilitarianism Higher pleasures Intellectual Cultural Lower pleasures Physical/bodily Common, “blue-collar” pleasures of the uneducated masses

9 Utilitarianism Some pleasures are qualitatively better than others. Bentham’s system treated all pleasures alike in kind, only differing in quantity.

10 Utilitarianism Objections Mill is smuggling in other values under the guise of higher quality –pleasure + knowledge –aesthetic (artistic) value Mill is universalizing the values of the bourgeois elite (classist, ethnocentric)

11 Utilitarianism Mill: Educating the masses will allow them to experience higher pleasures also. Objection: What you find pleasurable is purely a matter of conditioning Reply: Man’s nature will gravitate towards learning, art and culture if afforded the opportunity

12 Utilitarianism: Objections Too permissive Utilitarian response: (1) bite the bullet (2) try to show negative side-effects, long-term consequences Rebuttal of the anti-utilitarian: The Publicity Requirement Rejoinder: Just don’t get caught Too demanding

13 Utilitarianism: Objections Impractical - calculating takes too long or is too complicated to be practical Turns people into unfeeling calculating machines beholden to the results of hedonistic calculus Godless doctrine “Dirty Hands” objection: Requires one to compromise one’s principles and integrity for the greater good

14 Utilitarianism Thought experiments: The Fat Man The Drifter Hanged The Unwilling Organ Donor Torturing the Terrorist The Drowning Child The Bioweapons job The Corrupt General and the Coerced Executioner

15 Utilitarianism Definition Pleasure of intellect, feeling, imagination, moral sentiment always valued over physical sensations by hedonists 43 Objection: Doctrine worthy of swine

16 Utilitarianism 50 There is nothing good in sacrifice itself, but only for the happiness it produces. 51 Utilitarianism is too demanding 52 Utilitarianism makes people into unfeeling utility-calculating machines

17 Utilitarianism 45 L It’s easier for someone with limited (mental?) capacities to satisfy her desires. Pigs and fools are easily satisfied, but that doesn’t make their lot superior to human beings or Socrates. 46 R Greatest Happiness Principle: Happiness includes quality and quantity (higher as well as lower pleasures)

18 Utilitarianism 53 R Utilitarianism is “a godless doctrine” 54 R No time to caluclate the consequences 56 L Too easy to create biased results with calculations

19 Utilitarianism Notes on the Mill’s text p. 42 L Epicurus: Ancient Greek Hedonist Philosopher--also misinterpreted, followers called swine Utility not meant in the common sense of “useful” or “pratcial” as distinct from pleasurable

20 Utilitarianism Peter Singer Does world poverty make Utilitarianism into a demanding philosophy after all? It is demanding, but that’s no objection, just shows we’re selfish. Examples Bob’s Bugatti Dora’s TV Set


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