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PHILOS 2YY3 Lecture Notes - Jeremy Bentham, Robert Nozick, Monism

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V Igneski

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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
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
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
*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”
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 the pleasure, the better, the longer the pain, the
more negative.
Certainty or uncertainty whether or not the result is entirely
Propinquity or remoteness
Fecundity: the tendency of the action to be followed by an action of
the same kind
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