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Goodness and Utilitarianism - Thomson.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 2700F/G
Professor
Prof
Semester
Fall

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GOODNESS AND UTILITARIANISM – THOMSON  Utilitarianism to be a thesis about the right: it says that the right act is the act maximizes the good  The sophisticated modern utilitarian does not for a moment believe that the good is exhausted by the pleasant  Good includes the pleasant – includes distributive equality  What a person ought to do is to choose the act which, of all the acts open to the person would issue in the obtaining of the best total outcome  We should regard, good, like and big – there is no such property as goodness  We could say that there is namely the kind thing to use for holding down a pile of papers which are about to blow all over, or thing to use in the collage  We know for those kinds K what it is that a good K is good at or to or for and so on, by contrast we do not know what is predicated of a thing when it is said to be a good pebble or a good molecule or good corpse because we do not know for these kinds K what it is that a good K is good at or to or for and so on  Perhaps good people are good at or to o for something: but that she is good at or to or for something wasn’t at all what I meant to be saying of her in saying what I did  Presumably a person is a good person only if he or she is good enough of them  Being good at or to or for and so on, on the other hand being just or reliable or graceful and so on  Being good at or to or for and so on are external ways of being good, whereas being just or reliable or graceful and so on are internal ways of being good  Can the utilitarian consistently accept the thesis that all goodness is goodness in a way? Yes he can. There are three possibilities open to him but none is entirely happy  Well good state if affairs is one respect like good corpse help from speaker or context apart it is puzzling  What we ought to do is to choose that act which of all the acts open to us would issue in the obtaining of the total outcome that is on balance best for people, or for sentient creatures generally  The chief attraction of utilitarianism for many people is that it sounds like a necessary truth  What emerges is that the theory we are supplied with by the utilitarian’s I env
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