John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism:

  1. Consequentialism - Any moral theory which holds that the consequences of an action determine the moral status of the act

    1. Egoism - What brings me the most happiness is right

      1. Psychological Egoism
      2. Ethical Egoism -

        1. Individual Ethical Egoism
        2. Universal Ethical Egoism

    2. Hedonism - What brings me the most pleasure is right

    3. Utilitarianism - What brings the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number is right

  2. The Foundations of Utilitarianism:

    1. Empiricism - we gain knowledge only through the senses

    2. Teleology - the importance of the ends (not means)

      1. An action is 'good' if and only if the consequences of the action are good
      2. The 'good' is equal to pleasure, the 'bad' is equal to pain
      3. 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)

    3. Two Kinds of Pleasure:

      1. Physical pleasure - physical stimulation
      2. Mental pleasure - consciousness, dignity, knowledge (self-knowledge?), the "higher faculties"

  3. The Utilitarian Principle: Always act so as to foster the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.

  4. Two kinds of Utilitarianism:

    1. Act Utilitarianism - an action is right insofar as it brings about the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.

    2. Rule Utilitarianism - a rule is right insofar as it brings about the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people.

  5. The Consequences of Utilitarianism -

    1. Motive or Intention has no impact on rightness or wrongness

    2. 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

    3. 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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