Utilitarianism: Form of objections and Replies
Utilitarianism You should do X iff X maximizes (expected?) utility (Everyone's, over
Hedonic Utilitarianism utility=happiness
• Form of Objections: X maximizes utility, but X is wrong.
• Form of Replies:
1 Defense #1 Does X really maximize expected utility?
1 Or is the case that there is implicit conflict which would change it
2 We don't really have an objection
2 Defense #2 Is X really wrong?
3 Defense #3 Are we using the right notion of utility?
1 Giving up hedonic utilitarianism
Objection 1: The Experience Machine
• You are going to be happier if you plug yourself in
• You're going to be happier if you plug yourself in to the experience
1 Your life would be better
• Thus, you are morally obligated with utilitarianism to plug yourself in
• Defense #1 Family and friends hurt them
1 Drain on society not contributing, resources wasted on you
• Defense #2 ??
• Defense #3
1 Preference utilitarianism utility=desire/preference satisfaction
Your desire that X is satisfied iff X. :)
Your desire that X is satisfied iff you believe X. :(
Ex) Desire that your spouse be faithful.
• You will believe that these desires are satisfied, but they won't be satisfied
1 Causes your utility to go down
• You have a portion of desires that will be satisfied in life, but not all of them
Objection 2: Rights & Justice
Ex) Peeping Tom
• Peeping Tom is happy; person being spied on never knows they're being spied on
• Increases utility
• However, people don't want to be spied on
• Defense #1 Does being a peeping Tom maximize expected utility?
1 Peeping Tom gets locked in jail if gets caught
2 Person being spied on feels uncomfortable
3 On average, this is not a good idea
• Defense #2
• Defense #3
1 Preference Utilitarianism
2 The desire is n