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What is consequentialism?

Its defining right and wrong in terms of the consequences of our actions


Consequentialism is in contrast with?

With duty-based ethics and kantian ethics that focus on our motives


What is the most famous and influential version of consequentialism?



What is utilitarianism?

It specifies how to evaluate the consequences of an action by combining consequentialism with two other views, hedonism and egalitarianism


According to hedonism

Good= pleasure (or happiness)
Bad= pain (or unhappiness)


When we combine hedonism with consequentialism what does it mean?

It means that we look at how much pleasure vs. pain is produced as a consequence of the action


Utilitarianism doesnt support what?

It doesnt support any form of egoist hedonism


What is egoist hedonism?

Its aiming to have as much pleasure as possible for oneself


Utilitarianism involves a kind of what?

Involves a kind of egalitarianism


What is egalitarianism?

The general view that supports equality


According to the Greatest Happiness Principle or the Principle of utility

The right action is the one that brings about the greatest amount of total happiness for all


What does "the greatest amount of total happiness for all" mean?

This means that in your decision, you don't have a priority you are just one person given equal weight with other people


When making a decision what do we look at?

We look at future consequences of an action that hasnt happened yet


When looking at a future consequence of an action what must we consider?

We must consider the probable consequence and choose the one that maximizes total happiness


The utilitarianism does not discriminate what?

It does not discriminate the "all" on the basis of species and counts the happiness and unhappiness of everyone and everything


What's the advantage of the utilitarianism theory not discriminating other species?

It gives the advantage of explaining the ethical importance of how we treat other animals


What are the criticisms of utilitarianism?

1-Difficulties of calculation
2-Problem cases


Difficulties of calculation

-Can we really guess how all other people are going to feel?
-Can we quantify and compare the pleasure and pain different people are going to feel?
-Can we calculate the probable pleasure and pain of other animals?


Bentham thought it was possible to calculate by using a method called

The felicific calculus


What is the felicific calculus?

Its to calculate the pleasure in an action we have to consider factors such as
Tendency to lead to other pleasures


What did Mill think about Benthams method?

He thought it was too simplistic


What did Mill develop?

He developed a new version of utilitarianism


What did Mills new version of utilitarianism involve?

It involved "not only quantitative but also qualitive" comparisons between pleasure where we can divide pleasures into higher and lower pleasures based on their quality


What are the higher and lower pleasures according to Mill?

Higher pleasure are intellectual pleasures (such as learning or enjoying art). Physical pleasures (such as eating, drinking, and sex) are lower pleasures


What does Mill argue?

He argues that those who are experienced with both kinds of pleasure almost prefer a lifestyle of the higher kind


What did some critics argue about Mills view?

They argued that Mills view is elitist where he is just praising his own lifestyle as a member of the British upper class


Any reasonable version of utilitarianism must consider what?

Must consider long term consequences


What would a utilitarian say to a machine that would make you feel very pleasant experiences?

A utilitarian would say yes but most people would say no


Why would most people say no to a machine that would make them feel very pleasant experiences?

Because they value not just pleasure and happiness but also truth and reality we want our experiences to be real ones


The importance of the past-promises

Consequentialism only cares about the future, a utilitarian would recommend breaking your promise if it would maximize total happiness


Too demanding

Utilitarianism asks us to be too selfless because it requires you to always choose the option that maximizes total happiness