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Lecture 13

Lecture 13 - Consequentialism

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University of Ottawa
Daniel Kofman

March 4, 2014 BENTHAM • No such thing as moral rights – there are only legal constructions MILL • Utilitarianism – actions that promote happiness • You should keep a promise so long as it promotes happiness Objections: 1- 2- Over-demandingness objection – then shouldn’t you be maximizing happiness every second of every day? • Act Utilitarianism judges an act by whether that act maximizes aggregate good vis-à-vis acts accessible to the agent. • Rule Utilitarianism – an act is right if it conforms to rules, general compliance with which would maximize aggregate utility/happiness • Good = pleasure – pain • Both are distinct view and disagree about what makes an act right • Act utilitarian – help the poor in India rather than go to school (over-demandingness) • Rule utilitarian – disagree • Utilitarianism vs. Consequentialism • Unilateral disarmament of the West • Judges the rightness of an action by the overall consequences • What distinguishes utilitarianism and consequentialism from other theories is not consequentialism’s focus on consequences (other theories are also concerned about consequences). Utilitarianism judges the rightness of an act by the entire universe of happiness (total aggregate happiness), through time (to future generations), and across species as well. • Objects to consequentialism – there are
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