PHIL101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Epicurus, John Stuart Mill, Fecundity
SchoolUniversity of Alberta
DepartmentPhilosophy at St Joseph's College
ProfessorMarie- Eve Morin
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October 2, 2017 (Monday)
UNIT 2 Doing what’s right
- How do we figure out what is right?
●Rightness and wrongness of actions can lie in action itself, the intention/
motivation of the doer, effects on the recipient(s), or combinations of these
●Inside the person doing the action
- Is morality “rightness”...?
●A perception (like the blueness of the house)
●A feeling (like pleasure)
●A rational judgement (like the 180o angles of a triangle)
- Basic form:
●X is the good (ie: happiness)
●An action Y is right if (of all possible actions) it brings about the most X.
●How do we get the most good in the world.
●If it maximizes the good
●It it has the best consequences possible overall
●Is the good one thing or many thing?
●Actual consequences, or actual and future ones?
●Direct consequences or aso indirect ones?
●Total net good or average good per person? (The distribution of goodness)
●Does everybody count equally or are som worth more than others?
●Effects on whom?
- Maximizing the good seems easy, but once we starring asking these questions it
can be very complicated.
- The GOOD = Happiness = pleasure (or no pain)
- An action y is right
●If it maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain
●If it maximizes utility
- Utility = “property of a thing, person or action whereby it tends to bring about the
good” (Bentham) (Having good effects on the good)
●It it brings about the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
- Focus is on the effect of an action, not on what kind of action it is or why the
agent is performing the action.
-Felicific Calculus (Formula of happiness)
●To calculate how much happiness is produced by an action consider:
●Duration of the pain or pleasure
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