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Lecture 4

PHLA11 Week 2 Lecture 4 Notes.docx

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Julia Nefsky

PHLA11 WEEK 2 LECTURE 4 1 Unit 1: Moral Theories -utilitarianism wants to explain what is it that makes right acts right and wrong acts wrong at the most fundamental level; act is right if and only if it maximizes happiness -happiness means pleasure in the absence of pain -an act is right if it maximizes utility, if and only if there is no action available to the agent that has a higher utility -utility = total pleasure – total pain Two Parts of Utilitarianism -consequentialism: whether an act is right or wrong depends entirely on its consequences, not its intrinsic nature, right action brings about the right consequences -hedonism: pleasure and freedom from pain is the only thing that is desirable in itself, anything else is desirable only as a means to pleasure or avoiding pain Objection 1-Doctrine Worthy of Swine -the life of humans boils down to pleasure and freedom from pain and that objective seems worthy of the swine -Mill replies that the objection assumes that the sources of pleasure are only bodily but we get pleasures from other things too, there are higher and lower pleasures -higher pleasures are intellectual pleasures, pleasures of the imagination while lower pleasures are bodily and Mill argues that higher pleasures are more valuable and of higher quality so be weighted more heavily Objection 2: Too High for Humanity -the theory is too high for us because it asks us to promote the general happiness of society, utilitarianism says you have to consider everyone when considering what act to undertake and maximize overall happiness -Mill’s reply is that this objection confuses the rule of action with the motive of it, utilitarianism is giving you a rule of action, what is takes for your action to be right or wrong but it doesn’t say you don’t have to the motivated by the goal of maximizing utility -motives are unimportant, utilitarianism just maximized happ
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