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Moral Theories.docx

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Julia Nefsky

Lecture 3 - Moral Theories - differentiating right actions from wrong - obligatory - acts that you have an obligation to perform that are morally required, that you morally ought to do - you have to do it - more than just permissible, required - an act is obligatory, if it's the only act to do, it would be wrong not to do it - permissible, or right - allowed, permitted - morally acceptable - not wrong to do it - impermissible, or wrong - morally forbidden - an action is either permissible or impermissible -utilitarianism - first pioneered by Jeremy Bentham - popular and widely discussed in philosophy - greatest happiness (utility) principle - happiness = absence of pain and intended pleasure - consequentialism - the rightness and wrongness of an act depends on its consequences - an act is right only if it brings out the best possible/ maximizes the best consequences available to you - total good produced - total bad produced - comes down to which will bring you the best consequences - depends on the total amount of good and bad - hedonism - goodness of consequences is determined by how much happiness is produced - how much pleasure and pain is produced - universality - everyone's happiness matters - takes into account everyone that will be affected - impartiality - everyone's happiness matters in the same way - doesn't matter who's experiencing the pain/pleasure - utility (happiness) - act's utility = sum of all the pleasure it produces and subtract all the pain it produces - hedon: unit of pleasure - dolor: a unit of pain - when 2 acts come out with the same utility (hedons - dolors) you got options -Mill's objections - to the hedonistic point of view - life has no better higher end than pleasure, no better and nobler object of desire and pursuit = representing human nature in a bad way - 2 kinds of pleasure - higher pleasures - intellectual pleasures, pleasures of imagination - lower pleasures - bodily pleasures - challenging Bentham's idea: how many hedons are assigned for a particular experience of pleasure depend on 2 things: duration (how long the experience lasts) + intensity ( how intense) - how mill determines which of 2 pleasures are of higher quality/ argument - *check ppt* Lecture 4 objection 1 - doctrine worthy of swine - objection to hedonistic conception of the good - mill's reply - this objection you can only get pleasure (bodily); but there's other pleasures - draws a distinction between higher and lower pleasures (bodily) - higher is more valuable; if people were acquainted with both, and prefer the higher one, then that kind of pleasure s more valuable - 'better to be a human dissatisfied than a life satisfied' objection 2 - too high for humanity - mill's reply - this objection confuses rule of action with the motive of it - utilitarianism does not say that you need to be motivated to do the action - too demanding or too high for humanity - most of the time, if you just do what's best for you, your going end up maximizing utility - it doesn't matter why you do it, as long as you maximize utility - motive has nothing to do with the morality of the action, but a lot to do with the 'worth of the agent' objection 3 - no time to calculate - last thing you should do is calculate utility - mill's reply - criterion of right - fundamental criterion of morality - specifies what's right from wrong - maximize overall utility - decision procedure - common sense 'rules of thumb' - secondary principles; use as a rough guide for conduct - best consequences Lecture 5 Nozick's thought experiment - asks us to imagine an experience machine that can give you whatever you want - 'would you plug in for life?' - Nozick thinks people would not plug in - objection to hedonism - pleasure and freedom from pain isn't all that matters, which is what the experience machine gives - hedonism - the only things that are of intrinsic value are the only things that matter to us - if hedonism was true, then we would want to plug in - what matters - making a difference in the world - we don't just want to experience things, we actually want to do things - we want to be a certain way - a combination of the experience and transformation machine and results machine - experiencing the situation, making a difference and being that type of person all together - why people wouldn't want to plug in - because the machines are living our lives for us, we're not doing those things ourselves - we care about reality and want to be in contact with it - hedonism is false if Nozick is right - other reasons why people wouldn't want to plug in - skeptical about the machine (if it breaks down); something might go wrong - thinking about floating in a tank for years - worrying about health Lecture 6 - the ends can justify the means - justice - you should only be punished when you deserve it - utilitarianism - does not care about whether you deserve the punishment; it's about what brings the best consequences (morally obligatory) - ex. benefiting the well-off at the expense of the poor - morally obligatory to direct those resources to the rich than the poor according to utilitarianism - ex. persecuting a minority - segregate minority and relieve majority according to utilitarianism - rawls diagnosis of the problem - sacrifice now for the benefits of later - utilitarianism is taking the same approach - sacrifice some people for the benefits of other - rawls says it doesn't make se
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