November 2, 2009
We are now switching to the theory of which states of affairs are intrinsically
valuable. They will talk about what is good in itself, rather than what is good as a
means, or from what it produces.
Instrumentally good=good as a means because it produces something intrinsically good
Intrinsically good=good in itself, apart from what it produces
Money might be instrumentally good, enables you to buy expensive things, but it is not
good in itself, if it didn’t produce other things such as pleasure it would be of no good.
If you break your leg you feel pain, it is instrumentally good because it tells you to stop
walking on your leg and get to a hospital. But it is not good in itself.
Epicurus-Simplest theory:ethical hedonism-part of utilitarianism, there is only one thing
that is good, pleasure or happiness and the only one bad thing which is pain.
“Epicurean”-somebody who likes pleasure and is good at getting it
Ex. Bentham, Mill-had a distinction of higher and lower pleasures, which was a
departure from hedonism
Ross’ Pluralistic theory-pleasure is good, but so is virtue and knowledge.
The topic of what is good is important:
-most moral views have the duty to promote what is good and prevent what is bad, in
consequentialism that is the only duty, to know what that involves in practice we need to
know what makes states better or worse
Ross has some non-consequentialist duties, but also has some duties to promote the
good, we have to know what is good
-deontological duties, transplant and sheriff case, alerted us on the importance of
doing/allowing and intending/foreseeing, these were based on consequences
-even non-consequentialist parts of morality rely on what is a good state of affairs and
what is bad, sometimes it matters what is good and what is bad apart from
considerations of what is right and wrong
H1n1 went through the classroom and everyone died, nobody caused it, it just
happened, it would still be a bad thing that everyone died, even though it had nothing to
do with what is right and wrong
-if something accidentally happened that gives people pleasure, doesn’t make it right
What is good and what is worth pursuing:
Bentham-psychological hedonist, someone who thinks that the only thing that we want
is our own pleasure
611-what motivates us, the principle motive is always some pleasure or pain operating
in a certain manner
What we desire is always our own pleasure. Pleasure is the only good.
-it is arguably false that the only thing we want is our own pleasure. Bentham’s idea of what pleasure is:
-pleasures and pains are feelings and you can be in several of these feeling states at
the same time ex. Have a pleasant warmth in your shoulder, slight ache in your knee,
pleasurable taste of chocolate in your mouth.
What makes them all pleasures? They all have an indefinable quality of pleasantness.
You can detect it by concentrating on the feeling. You can’t describe what pleasantness
is, but you can identify it when you feel it. You have to experience it.
For each of these states the feeling can be more or less intense. Ex. Mild discomfort
from a hangnail, or intense pain from torture.
It can last for a long time, or be very short.
Bentham thinks it is better to have more pleasure than fewer, worse to have more pains.
Better to have more intense pleasures, worse to have more intense pains than less
intense pains. Better to ha