Most philosophers agree that moral dilemmas arise when people live in
The study of morality has ONLY ONE procedure
The origin of the word Ethics comes the Greek word ‘ethos’ which refers to:
ways of seeing
Ethics is NOT a subset of religion.
Which of the following best describes what Ethics is:
the study of human behavior and what is socially acceptable.
the study of right and wrong
the study of human nature
the study of the cosmos
Moral Relativism is the belief that morality is NOT absolute or universal for all cultures.
An example of a moral proposition is
â€œYou should not treat people badly.â€
“I am going to feel sick”
â€œNothing can be both X and not X.”
“My height is average”
The view that there are universal/eternal moral codes which exist in all societies is supported by
Moral relativists hold that morality is relative to:
all of the above.
One of the problems with absolutes is what to do when they conflict.
According to the author of the text, truth is relative.
Emotivism affirms that
emotions are not the answer to morality
emotions must coexist with reason
in ehics, all emotions are considered immoral
moral propositions express emotions and feelings
In Ethics, there is only one kind of moral statement
The difference between psychological egoism and ethical egoism is that one is a descriptive position and the other one is a normative position.
Consequentialists believe that the core of morality is only founded on
the government laws
the outcomes of the action
the other person
the virtues of the action
Most philosophers believe that there is no relationship between the way people do behave and the manner in which they ought to behave
If you are a psychological egoist you believe
that people always or often do help themselves
that people should help the poor.
that people should or ought to help themselves.
that people ought to help other humans
Everyone should act in their own self-interest according to the
individual ethical egoist
personal ethical egoist
universal ethical egoist
Rule utilitarians think that
everyone should act only on universal exceptionless rules
everyone should act according to the rule that is in their self-interest.
everyone should act only according to the rule â€œthe end does not justify the means.”
everyone should act according to the rule that brings about the most good for all
The strength of Utilitarianism is that it focuses only on the minority
One of the downsides of Utilitarianism is that
It is based on duty and divorces happiness
It is difficult to measure all consequences
It is based exclusively on our self-interest
It emphasizes actions rather than consequences
British philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill developed the modern form of Utilitarianism.
Who stated that an action is considered moral if it brings good results for the majority
The ethical egoists
Utilitarianism is not an egoistic theory
Morality can only be judged with respect to particular situations, within the standards of particular belief systems and socio-historical contexts: this position is known as
Objective moral facts
Principle of Utility
Study Guide: John Stuart Millâ€™s Ethics
Millâ€™s ethical theory Hedonic Utilitarianism, which is a form of consequentialism: The permissibility of
actions is determined by examining their outcomes and comparing those outcomes with what would have
happened if some other action had been performed.
Mill responds to Kantâ€™s criticism of consequentialist moral theories by saying that Kant confuses act
evaluation and agent evaluation. (Kant argued that consequences should not be used in evaluating actions
because we have inadequate control over consequences, and our moral obligations extend only so far as our
abilities. Instead, Kant examines our motives to determine the permissibility of our actions.) Mill says that the
examination of motives is appropriate for agent evaluation, but not act evaluation. Mill also points out that a
morally good person could â€“ with the best of motives â€“ perform an impermissible action.
Principle of Utility: An action is permissible if and only if the consequences of that action are at least as good
as those of any other action available to the agent.
â€¢ Alternative formulation: An action is permissible if and only if there is no other action available to the agent
that would have had better consequences. (These two formulations are equivalent.)
â€¢ Moral theories that employ the Principle of Utility are called Utilitarian theories.
â€¢ Note that, according to the Principle of Utility, an action could have good consequences but still not be
permissible (because some other action was available to the agent that would have had better consequences).
â€¢ Also, an action with bad consequences could still be permissible (if no other available action had better
Hedonic Utilitarianism: Millâ€™s theory begins with the Principle of Utility, and then adds that the consequences
that are of importance are happiness and unhappiness.
â€¢ Everyoneâ€™s happiness is taken into account, and given equal weight.
â€¢ There is no time limit on consequences. All the happiness and unhappiness that result from an action must be
taken into account, no matter how long it takes for these consequences to arise.
â€¢ Mill also says that it is better for happiness to be distributed among many people. The moral goal of our
actions, he says, is to create â€œthe greatest happiness for the greatest number.â€
â€¢ Note that when using this principle it is impossible to determine whether an action is permissible unless one
compares the consequences of that action with the consequences of all the other actions the agent could have
Contrast with Jeremy Bentham: Bentham, Millâ€™s teacher, held a similar moral theory, but said that the
consequences we should examine are pleasure and pain. Mill says that by examining happiness and
unhappiness he is including a new factor: the intellectual component.
â€¢ For Bentham, the only things that could make one pleasure better than another (or one pain worse than
another) were its intensity and its duration. Mill adds a new
dimension: the intellectual component. This has the result of making the pleasures and pains of animals count
for much less.
Comparison with Satisficing Consequentialism: Mill says that for an action to be permissible it must have the
best consequences. Satisficing consequentialism says that to be permissible its consequences have to be good
â€¢ Satisficing consequentialism allows for more than one permissible action in many situations. Mill, by
contrast, implies that there is usually only one permissible action available.
â€¢ Satisficing consequentialism allows for a distinction between permissible actions and supererogatory actions.
â€¢ Satisficing consequentialism allows for moral dilemmas (situations in which only two actions are available,
and neither is morally permissible).
Act vs. Rule Consequentialism: Act consequentialist theories (e.g., the theories of Bentham and J.S. Mill)
evaluate actions on a case-by-case basis. Rule consequentialist theories say that an action is permissible only if
it is in accord with the relevant rules. Rules are selected so that following them will
Utilitarianism- J. Bentham’s Felicific Calculus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The felicific calculus is an algorithm formulated by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham for calculating the
degree or amount of pleasure that a specific action is likely to cause. Bentham, an ethicalhedonist, believed the
moral rightness or wrongness of an action to be a function of the amount of pleasure or pain that it produced.
The felicific calculus could, in principle at least, determine the moral status of any considered act. The
algorithm is also known as the utility calculus, the hedonistic calculus and the hedonic calculus.
Intensity: How strong is the pleasure?
Duration: How long will the pleasure last?
Certainty or uncertainty: How likely or unlikely is it that the pleasure will occur?
Propinquity or remoteness: How soon will the pleasure occur?
Fecundity: The probability that the action will be followed by sensations of the same kind.
Purity: The probability that it will not be followed by sensations of the opposite kind.
Extent: How many people will be affected?
Utilitarianism: is the ethical doctrine that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its
contribution to overall utility.
It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the morality of an action is
determined by its outcome
*the ends justify the means.
*Utility: the good to be maximized
Peter Singer defines it as the satisfaction of preferences.
* an action may be considered right if it produces the greatest amount of net
benefit and the least loss/cost of any available alternative action.
* the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral
judgment about that action.
*morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence.
* the good is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of
* “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
* calculate the utility of an action by adding up all of the pleasure produced and
subtracting from that any pain that might also be produced by the action.
Utilitarianism approach to morality quantitative and reductionistic
Utilitarianism can be contrasted with deontological ethics – focuses on the action
itself rather than its consequences
In general use the term utilitarian often refers to a somewhat narrow economic or
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