EthicsPHI 1600First Written Assignment.Read Chapter 5 and watch Week 3 Lecture.

EthicsPHI 1600First Written Assignment.Read Chapter 5 and watch Week 3 Lecture. Choose ONE contemporary moral issue in our society and apply the ethical principle of Utilitarianism to approve this moral issue. You must pick a moral issue that you strongly support and apply the utilitarian claims to back up your arguments. The paper must be done in MLA format with a minimum of 500 words (quotes are not included in the word count).


*You must apply Bentham’s “Principle of Utility” and the Four major points of Utilitarianism (week 3 Lecture) for 50 points and apply Bentham’s Felicific Calculus for 50 points.

Watch Video  Four major points of Utilitarianism. You must apply them in your 1st written assignment due on week 3.


Chapter Five (Utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill)

Weighing Consequences Utilitarian point of view – take into accountthe general happiness of everyone Maximize good consequences Utilitarian reasoning might run counter tointuitions about basic principles Should we use torture on terrorist suspectsif we think this might save many lives?

Historical Background  Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) Original utilitarians were democratic,progressive, empiricist, optimistic. Believed that when interests of variouspersons conflicted, best choice was thatthat promoted the interests of the greatestnumber.

The Principle of Utility (GreatestThe Principle of Utility (GreatestHappiness Principle)Happiness Principle)◦ Utilitarianism is a form ofconsequentialism – focuses onconsequences of actions◦ Mill’s principle of utility – the morally bestalternative is that which produces thegreatest net utility.◦ We ought to do that which produces thegreatest amount of happiness for thegreatest number of people

Pleasure and HappinessPleasure and Happiness Classical utilitarianism reduces all other goodsto some form of pleasure or happiness. Similar to hedonism or Epicureanism Mill: we should consider the range of types ofpleasure in our attempts to decide what thebest action is.

Calculating the Greatest Amount ofCalculating the Greatest Amount ofHappinessHappiness Bentham: The happiness or pleasure of allwho are affected by an action or practicethat is to be considered. Five elements to calculate the greatestamount of happiness◦ Pleasure minus pain◦ Intensity◦ Duration◦ Fruitfulness

Quantity vs. Quality of PleasureQuantity vs. Quality of Pleasure Bentham: Consider only the quantityof pleasure or happiness broughtabout by various acts. Mill: The quality of the pleasureshould also count. Mill: Intellectual pleasures are betterthan sensual ones.

Evaluating UtilitarianismEvaluating Utilitarianism Problems:◦ No one can consider all the variablesinvolved in happiness.◦ It is an affront to our personal integrity.◦ The “ends justify the means”: can causemore harm than good

The Trolley Problem Moral dilemma Research: Sometimes there are conflictsin how we actually react and how wethink we should react to morally fraughtsituations. Concern: Utilitarian calculation involves“coldness” that runs counter to empathyand other emotional responses.

Act and Rule Utilitarianism Rule utilitarianism – considers theconsequences of some practice or rule ofbehavior Act utilitarianism – focuses solely on theconsequences of specific individual acts Dispute regarding which is superior

Proof” of the Theory Mill’s proof of utilitarianism◦ Good is defined in terms of what peopledesire.◦ Happiness is the only thing desired for itself,so it is the only intrinsic good. Utilitarianism: highly influential moraltheory that influences wide variety ofpolicy assessment methods.

Mill: Utilitarianism◦ The definition of utilitarianism Actions are right as they promote happiness. Actions are wrong as they promote theopposite of happiness.◦ Measuring the quality of pleasure andpain The nobleness of character The ultimate end.

Mill: Utilitarianism (cont.) Reading: Utilitarianism◦ The proof of the principle◦ The link between happiness and virtue◦ There is nothing in reality that is desiredbut happiness.

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EthicsPHI 1600First Written Assignment.Read Chapter 5 and watch Week 3 Lecture.

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