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PHLA11H3 Lecture Notes - Felicific Calculus, Consequentialism

Course Code
Kelin Emmett

of 3
Ethics - Session 4
utilitarianism recap
1. 1st objection
Mill's reply
2. 2nd and 3rd objection
Mill's replies
tries to explain right and wrong actions in a more fundamental and general manner
right actions, max utility
max utility= hedons minus dolars
hedons: total amount of pleasure produced
dolars: total amount of pain produced
tie between two equal actions
compare options
choose action with best utility
two main components of utilitarianism
1. consequentialism
best consequences
what makes some consequences better than others
2. hedonism
goodness of consequences depends on pleasure and lack of pain
no absolutes
depends on consequences
first objection
people say, "fit for pigs"
reason being, enough for pigs to be happy
but people have more
Mill's reply
lower pleasures, bodily
higher pleasures, intellectual
ex. friendship and love
higher quality and therefore, heavier and of more value
higher pleasures are more valuable
better to be dissatisfied and pursue higher pleasures than being happy with only lower
part two
Q. give up higher over lower pleasures?
second objection
it's too demanding to act, thinking about society and aiming to please all
too demanding for humans
confusion of second objection
doesn't say to have a motive
doesn't care about the aim or why it is done
only says to do "x" to max utility
follow up objection
even if say not need to have motive/aim, still need to max utility
Mill's objection
you only have to do the act available to you
no power to do things on a large scale
objections and so on
Q. do we have common sense rules?
if continue list, appeal to rules
secondary principle more likely to do right thing
have common sense rules, just not follow because desire for instant gratification
actions are wrong if haven't chosen the best
Q. do common sense rules go against above?
Q. is it enough to go about normal actions enough to lead to max utility?