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Intro to Ethics, Sept. 25

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McMaster University
V Igneski

September 25 Value: What is the Good? – Jeremy Bentham and Robert Nozick. - Important distinctions in value: o The good vs the right o Intrinsic value vs instrumental value (being good in and of itself, vs or rather than being good because it leads to another good) o Subjective vs objective (something as mind-dependent vs being valued based on experience) o Agent relative vs agent neutral (relative to the person, valuable to the person from their perspective (also agent relative reasons) vs (Nagel’s) ‘good from a God’s eye perspective) o Monism vs pluralism (one thing that is intrinsically valuable, all other things are valuable in relation to how it achieves the one intrinsic value vs multiple valuable things) *there will be different relationships between values - Jeremy Bentham o Normative theory used as a tool for social and legal reform o Principle of utility: an act is right “according to the tendency which it appears to have augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question” (120)  Give important discussion of hedonism – claims that pleasure is the intrinsic value to be held above all others.  Applied to all manners of social structures; law, government etc. o Bentham’s Hedonism:  An action is right insofar as it promotes pleasure and wrong if it incites pain. Pleasure is the ultimately valued thing.  Linking of the good and the right.  Sensation, psychological state, satisfaction – the way we experience our pleasure and include the interests of others – not only physical pleasure, but emotional, mental pleasures, psychological achievement are included also.  Focuses on motivation and value – our theories must account for what we seek and why we seek it.  Measuring Pleasure:  Intensity: the more intense the pleasure, the more positive, the more intense the pain, the more negative.  Duration: the longer
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