Lecture 1 Ethics


Lecture 2 The Utilitarianism



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Lecture 2
The Utilitarianism – John Stuart Mill How we ought to behave if we behave ethically.

Mill’s moral rule
The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, utility, or the greatest happiness principle, holds that actions are
right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By
happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure.
• act to promote happiness psychological pleasure
Why – happiness is the most important thing out there
• Creed – code of behaviour a set of beliefs designed to guide one’s actions
• Utility – typical meaning = practical mill’s = measure of pleasure o Seek to improve our lot (improve our life, however we define it (ie, money, power, status) whatever utility means to you whatever makes you happy
• Privation – not having (privation of pleasure = not having pleasure) → absence of something that is normally present
• Happiness – implied psychological pleasure (and the absence of pain)
• Pleasure – two types → physical and psychological Swine objection – critics felt if the notion of happiness is just pleasure, then we are no more than pigs (they find pleasure laying in mud all day. Critics accused Mill of being a hedonist. Hedonism – the ethical theory that pleasure – in the sense of the satisfaction of physical desires – is the highest good and proper aim of human life. Hedonist believe whatever gives us physical pleasure is what it is all about. Advocate physical self-indulgence. Mills response to hedonist claim. Different kinds of pleasure exist
• Physical – appetitive, physical sensations


• Mental/psychological – intellect, feelings, imagination one is more valuable than the other. Psyco is worth more than physical, and only human’s experience this. Mental pleasures are surely superior. No one would give up psychological pleasures for full satisfaction of phys. There will always be interruptions to happiness, but still better than to be someone without intellectual capacities with completely satisfied physical pleasure.
a beast’s pleasures do not satisfy a human being’s conceptions of happiness
It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied

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