Philosophy 2030 Class #11 4/12/16 Take-home / open

Philosophy 2030 Class #11 4/12/16 Take-home / open

Philosophy 2030 Class #11 4/12/16 Take-home / open book midterm exam is available on Quia for download and printing. Exam is due on 4/19. Use the answer sheets handed out (blue side). Problems with Benthams Utilitarianism First of all, what are consequences anyway? They only happen after we take action. They are hypothetical. Thus, an action cannot be said to be moral or not until the consequences are known. Intentions

dont count. But how long do we have to wait? With many moral choices, all the consequences are not ever known. Thus, can we not ever say if the act is good or not? & The Problem of Sheer Numbers! If we are applying the greatest happiness principle, would it be moral then to abuse a few individuals for the enjoyment or welfare of the many? Human experiments? Animal experiments? Stem cell research? Snuff films? Dog fights?

Human Torture? Abu Ghraib? The Happiness Paradox, Or The Hedonist Paradox We often found happiness only when we are searching for something else. The more we seem to value pleasure for itself, the more it seems to elude us. Remember what Aristotle said. In response to Bentham, John Stuart Mill takes a page from Aristotles playbook and claims that happiness is an intellectual achievement, not merely pleasure. (By the way, if you were wondering who was the first philosopher to stress the important difference between factual and normative statements and that one cannot think critically about ethics without keeping this difference clear, it was John Stuart Mill. -- Reread Box 5.7)

Video: Does the End Justify the Means / How Do Consequences Make Actions Right? (#19) John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) The Utilitarianism approach of Bentham and the greatest happiness principle is deeply flawed. Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so. Mill argued that you cannot simply identify pleasure with good and evil with pain. The Hedonistic Calculus program does not work.

Mill proposed a version of utilitarianism that did not fall back on hedonism. There are higher and lower pleasures. Intellectual values drive us to the higher pleasures. John Stuart Mill: A Revision of Utilitarianism Benthams view does not adequately inform us as to what pleasure and pain is. Yes, maximimizing pleasure for the common good depends on social equality, but such cannot be achieved without proper education The greatest pleasures are acquired tastes, the joy of solving a mathematical problem, of writing an opera, of playing a violin, etc. It is better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig

satisfied, better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. John Stuart Mill Higher & Lower Pleasures Thus for J.S. Mill, some pleasures are of more value than other pleasures! Humans will prefer pleasures that maintain some form of dignity. Mill proposes a test to determine which is the higher pleasure: ask those who have experienced both! The text questions Mills consistency in following through with this test however and charges that Mill is less of a liberal than Bentham and suggests that he becomes an elitist? What do you think? Mill asserts that the capability to enjoy the higher

pleasures can be lost over time by neglect. John Stuart Mills Higher & Lower Pleasures The greatest pleasures are acquired tastes and derive from achievement -- the joy of solving a mathematical problem, of writing an opera, of playing a violin, etc. Thus, Mill emphasized the necessary role of education for all. Social equality is achieved by providing opportunity for all to achieve the highest pleasures, not everybody settling for the lower pleasures. John Stuart Mills Harm Principle

Mill respected the liberal views of Bentham and his own father. Yet, Mill also proposed views that today we would call libertarian or even conservative. Mill strongly favored limiting government In particular, Mill warned of the tyranny of the majority in which a minority can be oppressed by a democratic majority. Thus, Mills Harm Principle states that no mentally competent adult should be forced to be subject to others tastes, even if they are not in the majority, as long as they do no harm to others. John Stuart Mills Harm Principle

This view may appear contradictory with his earlier view of general education. What Mill is saying is that we should educate all to give them the opportunity to achieve, but ultimately if they choose not to have the values that their education encouraged them to have, no compulsion should be advanced to make them live by any values other than the ones they choose for themselves. Thus, Mill would likely argue on the matter of same sex

marriage that we (even if we are the majority) should mind our own business! But what about the teenage girl who wishes to commit suicide because she is pregnant? Should we mind our own business on this, or should we intervene on the basis that she is committing harm to others? Act vs. Rule Utilitarianism Utilitarians after John Stuart Mill have clarified Mills position by differentiating Act Utilitarianism from Rule Utilitarianism.

Act Utilitarianism says that one should: Always do whatever act will create the greatest happiness for the greater number of people. Act Utilitarianism seems to suggest that it would be right to abuse individuals for the sake of the common good. Rule Utilitarianism says that one should: Always do

whatever type of act will create the greatest happiness for the greater number of people. Thus, rule utilitarianism suggests that a pattern or rule of abusing individuals for the sake of the common good is not right.

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