John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism:
- Consequentialism - Any moral theory which holds that the consequences of an action determine the moral status of the act
- Egoism - What brings me the most happiness is right
- Psychological Egoism
- Ethical Egoism -
- Individual Ethical Egoism
- Universal Ethical Egoism
- Hedonism - What brings me the most pleasure is right
- Utilitarianism - What brings the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number is right
- The Foundations of Utilitarianism:
- Empiricism - we gain knowledge only through the senses
- Teleology - the importance of the ends (not means)
- An action is 'good' if and only if the consequences of the action are good
- The 'good' is equal to pleasure, the 'bad' is equal to pain
- Happiness is a psychological state with an abundance of pleasure and a minimum of pain ('Unhappiness' is a psychological state with an abundance of pain and a minimum of pleasure)
- Two Kinds of Pleasure:
- Physical pleasure - physical stimulation
- Mental pleasure - consciousness, dignity, knowledge (self-knowledge?), the "higher faculties"
- The Utilitarian Principle: Always act so as to foster the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.
- Two kinds of Utilitarianism:
- Act Utilitarianism - an action is right insofar as it brings about the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.
- Rule Utilitarianism - a rule is right insofar as it brings about the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.
- The Consequences of Utilitarianism -
- Motive or Intention has no impact on rightness or wrongness
- Happiness (i.e., the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain) is the only final end (i.e., end in itself); or Pleasure is the only thing desirable in itself
- No action or rule can be dismissed without first calculating the advantages and disadvantages (i.e., no absolute moral prescriptions) - moral principles are subjective
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