Anda di halaman 1dari 19

Slide 1

Utilitarianism

https://www.studyblue.com/#file/view/302526
http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gaskilld/ethics/utilitarianism%20notes.htm

Slide 2

A History of
Utilitarianism

Slide 3

Intrinsic Value

Many things have instrumental value, that is, they have value as means to an end.

However, there must be some things which are not merely instrumental, but have value in
themselves. This is what we call intrinsic value.

What has intrinsic value? Four principal candidates:

Pleasure

Happiness

Ideals

Preferences

Jeremy Bentham

John Stuart Mill

G. E. Moore

Kenneth Arrow

Slide 4

Jeremy Bentham
1748-1832
Bentham believed that
we should try to increase
the overall amount of
pleasure in the world.

Slide 5

Pleasure

Definition: The enjoyable feeling we


experience when a state of
deprivation is replaced by fulfillment.

Advantages

Easy to quantify

Short duration

Bodily

Criticisms

Came to be known as the pigs


philosophy

Ignores higher values

Could justify living on a pleasure


machine

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates


dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.

Slide 6

John Stuart Mill


1806-1873
Benthams godson
Believed that happiness,
not pleasure, should be
the standard of utility.

Slide 7

Happiness

Advantages

A higher standard, more


specific to humans
About realization of goals

Disadvantages

More difficult to measure

Competing conceptions of
happiness

Slide 8

G. E. Moore
1873-1958
Ideal Values
G. E. Moore suggested that
we should strive to maximize
ideal values such as freedom,
knowledge, justice, and
beauty.
The world may not be a
better place with more
pleasure in it, but it certainly
will be a better place with
more freedom, more
knowledge, more justice, and
more beauty.
Moores candidates for
intrinsic good remain difficult
to quantify.

Slide 9

Kenneth Arrow
Preferences
Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel Prize
winning Stanford economist,
argued that what has intrinsic
value is preference
satisfaction.
The advantage of Arrows
approach is that, in effect, it
lets people choose for
themselves what has intrinsic
value. It simply defines intrinsic
value as whatever satisfies an
agents preferences. It is
elegant and pluralistic.

Slide 10

Utilitarianism

English philosophers John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) and Jeremy Bentham


(1748-1832) were the leading proponents of what is now called
classic utilitarianism.

Slide 11

It has its roots in 18th and 19th century social and political philosophy but its core idea is just as
relevant in the 21st century.

Slide 12

Theory of Utilitarianism
CONSEQUENTIALIST APPROACH

We should decide what to do by considering the consequences of


our actions.
We should act in ways that produce better consequences than the
alternatives we are considering.

The Good: Things (goals, states of affairs) that are worth pursuing and
promoting.

The Right: the moral rightness (or wrongness) of actions and policies.

Consequentialists say that actions are Right when they maximize the Good.

CONSEQUENTIALIST APPROACH we should act in ways that produce better consequences than
the alternatives we are considering
Consequentialism: Whether an action is morally right or wrong depends
entirely on its consequences. An action is right if it brings about the best
outcome of the choices available. Otherwise it is wrong.

Slide 13

Overall good

Slide 14

Theory of Utilitarianism
WHAT IS MEANT BY BETTER CONSEQUENCES?

Better consequences are those that promote human well-being:

maximize the overall good

the greatest good for the greatest number

put aside self-interest for the sake of the whole.

Ultimate ethical goal from this theory: to produce the best consequences for all
the parties affected by the decisions

happiness, health, dignity, integrity, freedom, and respect of all the people affected.

If these elements are basic human values, then an action which promotes more of them than
the alternative action does is more reasonable than an ethical point of view.
A decision that promotes the greatest amount of these values for the greatest number of
people is more reasonable decision from an ethical point of view.
Utilitarianism is commonly identified with the principle: maximizing the overall good or, in a
slightly different version, of producing the greatest good for the greatest number
Decisions that accomplish this goal are the right decisions to make ethically and those do not
are ethically wrong

Slide 15

Theory of Utilitarianism
IT PROVIDES STRONG SUPPORT FOR DEMOCTRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND POLICIES

It opposes policies that aim to benefit small social, economic, or political


minority.

Government and all social institutions exist for the well-being of all, not to
further the interests of the monarch, the nobility, or some small group of the
elite

The economy and economic institutions exist to provide the highest


standard of living for the greatest number of people, not to create wealth
for few.

Slide 16

CHILD LABOR

Problematic consequences:

Children suffer physical and psychological harms

They are denied opportunities for education

Their low pay is not enough to escape a life of poverty

Slide 17

CHILD LABOR

Alternative Decisions:
Consequences

of factory jobs:

if children in poor regions are denied

These children would still be denied opportunities for education

they would live in worse poverty

They would have less money for food and family support.

Young children who are prohibited from joining the workforce might
include crime, drugs, and prostitution

Child

labor can have beneficial results for bringing


foreign investment and money into a poor country.

Allowing children to work for pennies a day under sweatshop conditions produces better overall
consequences than the available alternatives. Thus, one might argue on utilitarian grounds that
such labor practices are ethically permissible because they produce better overall consequences
than the alternatives.

Slide 18

Theory of Utilitarianism

Utilitarians decide on the basis of consequences

Consequences depend on the specific facts of each


situation

Utilitarians tend to be very pragmatic thinkers

No act is ever absolutely right or wrong in all cases in


every situation; right and wrong will always depend on
the consequences.

The example highlights the important aspects of Utilitarian Reasoning.


For example, lying is neither right nor wrong in itself, according to utilitarians. In some
situations, lying may produce greater overall good than telling the truth. In such a situation, it
would be ethically justified to tell a lie.

Slide 19

Theory of Utilitarianism

Happiness

the ultimate good

the only thing that it and can be valued for its own sake

the best and most reasonable interpretation of human well


being