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Lecture

PHIL 230 Lecture Notes - Value Theory, Hedonism


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 230
Professor
Sarah Stroud

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Bentham and Mill
Bentham
Everything human beings do is motivated by pain and pleasure
Moral judgments- we approve or disapprove of an action in regard to its
ability to augment or diminish total happiness (principle of utility)
Happiness is a synonym for pleasure
Believes that all of us already accept the principle of utility, his job to clarify
misconceptions
Four characteristics of a pleasure or pain to account for
o Intensity
o Duration
o Certainty
o Propinquity
Sanctions/Sources of pleasure or pain
o Physical
o Political
o Moral
o Religious
Mill
Everything human beings do is motivated by pain and pleasure
Moral judgments- we approve or disapprove of an action in regard to its
ability to augment or diminish total happiness (principle of utility)
Happiness is a synonym for pleasure (pleasure + the absence of pain)
Believes that all of us already accept the principle of utility, his job to clarify
misconceptions
Moral theory- Utilitarianism- The rightness or wrongness of an action is
wholly determined by its impact on total happiness
Value theory- Hedonism- Pleasure and pain alone are intrinsically valuable
o Mill does not see them as independent
Mill does not endorse Bentham’s view on how to measure pleasure or pain
o Thinks quality is missing from his answer
o Believes there exists a hierarchy of pleasures in which physical
sensations are less valuable than those of
sentiments/emotions/intellect
o Preference of a competent judge (one who has experienced both)
will prefer pleasures of higher faculties
Is he really a hedonist?
o We question this because of the hierarchy of pleasures…
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