Flashcards in Mill's Utilitarianism Deck (21)
Mill's own conception of happiness
"Pleasure and the absence of pain"
Mill's defence of the quality/quantity distinction
Humans have faculties "more elevated than swine"
Bentham's conception of happiness
A mental state of pleasure and no pain- only the quantities of pleasure are importance as determined by their intensity multiplied by duration
Austin's conception of happiness
The most general "non-specific" assessment of one's overall wellbeing. Like how one can be healthy even with her leg chopped off.
Long term concept
Ayer's view of happiness
Happiness as desire satisfaction. Must give up that pleasure is the only thing ever desired.
Informed desire-satisfaction theory
Brandt: only desires that occur in a normal state of mind with full information (of what desire will feel like when fulfilled) count as maximising happiness
Mill's change of heart in his autobiography
Against desire satisfaction theory. Realised that he would not be happy even if all of his desires were satisfied --> separates the two concepts
Mill's "proof" of utilitarianism as the criterion of morality
1) Cannot find moral first principles via reasoning
2) Instead will be necessary to prove the truth of the statement via showing that is true for reasonable people
(a) will prove what people desire by finding out what is desired because things which are desired are good and the desirable is identical with the desired hence good=desired
(b) Need to prove that happiness is the only thing desired
3) Hence if each individual desires their own happiness the aggregation of all these happinesses is a good to the aggregate of all people
Moore's criticism of Mill's proof
Confuses the desired with desirable in the same way as visable/seen
Quotes to support the diversity of pleasures that make up happiness
Us desiring the various components of happiness (using Mill's own logic) even more greatly endears us towards happiness
Edwards "the recognition of a greater variety of qualities of agreeable feeling" makes us prefer the real world to a hedonist utopia
Edwards on pleasure
Pleasure being used for many kinds of sensation does not entail them all sharing a common element (Wittgenstein)
Hospers on pleasure
Localised pleasures and pains make up the non-localised ones
Paper that points out the different kinds of maximisation of utility
Parfit (Overpopulation and Quality of life)
What is the repugnant conclusion?
There will always be a number of people barely worth living that is better than having a few people enjoy their lives
Claim that if a change brings a net benefit it is a change for the worse if it involves sacrificing one of the "best things in life" that make life worth living
Why does Mill reject an intuitive justification for Utilitarianism?
Thinks that it is unscientific and never given justifiable proof. There must be a first principle that is not self evident as we do not have a "sense" that could detect it
Arguments against rule utilitarianism
Requires too much of people
Requires too little of people
Does not give special value to rights or primary facie duties
Victim of Nozick's "utility monster"
Arguments against RU
Becomes increasingly complex with the need for exceptions
Collapses into AU
Lyons on RU
An adequate rule-utilitarianism would be extensionally equivalent to act-utilitarianism
Sidgwick on morality
The doctrine that esoteric morality is expedient should itself be kept esoteric