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March 18 Lecture Notes.docx

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Syracuse University
PHI 192
Ben Bradley

March 18 Lecture Notes PHI 192 Utilitarianism Smart: “Utilitarianism is the doctrine that the rightness of actions is to be judged by their consequences.” Our definition of Utilitarianism: an act is morally permissible if and only if it maximizes hedonic utility • Hedonism is the right view to see what makes a good/bad life for utilitarianism to work • Making people better off is what you are supposed to do • Making people worse off is not what you are supposed to do • View about what makes an action morally permissible to do Definitions: • The hedonic utility of an act = the total amount of pleasure it produces (for everyone) minus the total amount of pain it produces • An act maximizes hedonic utility if and only if not alternative has a greater hedonic utility • Two acts are alternatives if it is impossible to do both Sample Utility Chart: Fineas and Ferb trying to figure out what to do today • Extreme utilitarianism: need to include long term consequences o Consequences of your own action • Restricted utilitarianism: do what is best for everyone, not what is necessarily best for you Problems with Utilitarianism • In order to apply you need to do lots of calculations, meaning it is too late to act in some cases • The Lack of Time Argument o 1) If Utilitarianism is true, then we are always required to calculate the values of alternatives before we act.
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