Glossary of mill
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- Fundamentals of Utility Calculus
- 1. Each person affected by an action counts as 1
2. Pleasure is quantifiable and exchangeable.
The best action is the one which produces the greatest sum of pleasure.
- Law of Diminishing Return
- Bill Gates gets less pleasure than a starving homeless person from $10.
The more you get the less payback you get.
This avoids Utility Monsters that get all the pleasure.
- 2 Major problems with Utilitarianism
- 1. Don't have access to the pain/pleasure of others in measuring whether our actions maximize utility.
2. We can't predict the longterm utility of our actions - we're not psychics.
- How does pure utilitarianism look at pleasure re: rape, comm. service, or eating?
- They are all equal pleasure. Pleasure is pleasure.
If an action produces ANY pleasure at all, it counts in favor of the action as being moral.
- What is the best thing for:
- Arist: Happiness/flourishing.
Kant: the rational being itself.
- utilitarianism IS NOT:
- it is not opposed to pleasure - spicy, not dry!
it is not pleasure in its coarsest form.
it's modest, not voluptuous!
- GREATEST HAPPINESS PRINCIPLE of utility:
- Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness. Wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.
- Happiness is:
- pleasure and the absence of pain.
pain and the privation of pleasure.
- 3 distinct def. of happiness by
- arist: virtuous activity in acc. w/ reason and if >1, best/most complete.
kant: complete well being and contement with one's circumstances.
mill: pleasure and the absence of pain.
- Only thing desirable as an ultimate end for Mill:
- 1st Objection to Utilitarianism:
- To say that the only ult. end of life is pleasure is to say that humans are pigs.
- Response to Obj. 1 (swines)
- this assumes that humans are only capable of swine's pleasure. (sensual)
There are different pleasures.
- Higher pleasures
- intellectual pleasures.
1. Higher pleasures last longer, cost less, safer.
2. Competent individuals acquainted w/ both hi/lo prefer higher.
- intellectual pleasures
- Pleasures of the
Feelings and imaginations
- How mill proves the superiority of the higher pleasures
- Everyone who knows both hi/lo pleasures prefers higher.
The preference of the lo-pleasure doers doesn't count because they are incapable of the hi pleasures.
- Objection 2:
- No one can be happy
- response to obj. 2
- 1. if that's true, they could be less unhappy.
2. it IS possible to be happy ABC
- Response 2A to object. 2
- in a tolerable life there are 2 main sources of unhappiness and both can be eliminated:
Everyone has access to friends and education.
- Response 2B to obj. 2
- The main afflicitons in the world can be removedby proper social planning.
- Positive ills in the world:
Death of loved ones.
- Response 2C to objection 2
- there are 3 basic life plans by which we might be happy:
- objection 3:
- The standard of utility is too high. AB
- objection 3A:
- the standard of util. is too high
it expects us to act only from the motivation of inreasing utility.
- response 3A:
- the standard of utility has nothing to do with the motive of the action; you can be motivated by pure duty, selfish inclinations, or whatever. all that matters in making it moral is if the result is increased utility.
- objection 3B
- the standard of utility is too high - it expects us to use all our resources to increase utility. can never buy a pizza, always have to donate to OXFAM.
- response 3B:
- it's too high? what makes you think it's too high you self-centered consumer you?
- Objection 4
- The utilitarian doctrine is Godless; it only says act to increase utility; not act in accordance with God.
- Response 4A
- The utilitarian doctrine is different from what God wants?
-that depends on what you think God wants. If he's benevolent and wants us to be happy, then God is util. himself.
- Response 4B
- Util. doctrine does not follow the Bible?
God is smart; his rules promote utility so you can follow both.
He says don't commit adultery, and this promotes utility.
- objection 5
- utilitarianism is another name for expediencey; that which is expedient for the particular interest of the agent himself.
- response to obj. 5
- immoral actions may be momentarily expedient, but the practice of lying is a long-term disutility.
- sanctions that apply to utility
- just the same as any other ethical theory:
- external sanctions
- -hope of favor and fear of displeasure from fellow creatures or the Ruler of the universe.
-our inclination to do His will because we love him, and we we have sympathy/affection for others.
EXTERNAL SANCTIONS ENFORCE UTILITARIAN MORALITY
- internal sanction:
- our conscience.
duty is obligatory from any external source; we must act from respect for the moral law (incidently the same as Kant's grounding for the princ. of morality)
- 3 points used to disprove Arist, and prove that pls is the only ultimate end.
- 1. Pleasure is desirable as an end.
2. Pleasure is the only desirble end.
3. The desire for pleas. entails morality.
- How Mill uses point 1 to disprove Arist:
- 1. Pleasure is desirable as an end.
-All else equal, we'd rather have pleasure than not.
- How Mill uses point 3 to disprove Arist:
- 3. the desire for pls entails morality:
I want hap; you want hap; therefore we want hap.
What if hap conflicts?
-Don't be selfish; then they won't.
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