March 20 Lecture Notes
Arguments Against Utilitarianism
• Island Fortune Promise Scenario
1. If Utilitarianism is true, then Jack is morally obligated to break his promise.
2. Jack is not morally obligated to break his promise.
3. Therefore Utilitarianism is not true.
• Utilitarianists don’t think there is any moral substance to a promise, hedonic utility is the
only thing that matters
• Reject Premise 2:
o Promise made to immoral person
But what if a moral person’s promise is not maximizing hedonic utility?
o He is morally obligated to break the promise but we should blame him if we find
out because blaming him encourages others