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Consequentialist Theories Right actions must produce the best balance of good over evil.

How much good can result from actions performed. ETHICAL EGOISM Theory that the right action is the one that advances ones own best interests. Ones only moral duty is to promote the most favorable balance of good over evil for oneself The interest of others is of concern ONLY if it advances your own best interests Difference between: Selfish acts that advance own interests regardless of effects on others Self-interested acts promote ones own interests but not necessarily to the detriment of others So, ethical egoism cannot be equated with selfishness, self-indulgence, etc. Act-egoism: to determine right action, you must apply the egoistic principle to individual acts. Action A is preferable to action B because it promotes your self interests the best Rule-egoism: to determine right action, you must see if an act falls under a rule that if consistently followed would maximize your self interest Ejpicurus (341-270 bce): The greatest good is pleasure, and the greatest evil, pain. The duty of a good ethical egoist is to maximize pleasure for oneself. Psychological egoism: the view that the motive for all our actions is self-interest. Whatever we do, we do because we want to promote our own welfare. Born to look out for number one. Since we are not able to perform an action except out of self-interest (the claim of psychological egoism), we are not morally obligated to perform an action unless motivated by self-interest. We are morally obligated to do only what our self-interest motivates us to do. An action that does not advance our own welfare cannot be right. Critique: People seem to do things that are NOT motivated by self-interest, running into a burning building to save a stranger, etc. People often have self-destructive habits Perhaps, some people pursue happiness itself, and some acts that seem not in their best interest are because happiness is their object, not the act itself. One reply is that you cannot pursue happiness as an object in itself, but that happiness is only a result, a by product of something else.

Evaluation of this moral theory -this theory does not seem consistent with many of our considered moral judgements. -Does the theory treat equals as equals? The theory seems to treat people as unequals -Is it usefully in moral problem solving? Very debatable

UTILITARIANISM Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) -judge the morality of an action by the effects that it has on the people involved -the formula for differentiating right from wrong seems straightforward Classis act- utilitarianism (Bentham): The right action is the one that directly produces the best balance of happiness over unhappiness for all concerned. Happiness is the ONLY intrinsic good. To choose the right action, all one needs to do is compute which action will produce the most happiness for all concerned, simple, nothing else to consider By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question. Bentham SO, the difference between ethical egoism and utilitarianism is: ETHICAL egoism is to promote ones own good, whereas UTILITARIANISM one should promote the good of everyone and that everyone counts equally. Mill: The happiness which forms the utilitarian standard of what is right in conduct, is not the agents own happiness, but that of all concerned. BENTHAM: hedonic calculus, to determine right action: -for each possible action in a particular situation, determine the total amount of happiness or unhappiness produced by it for one individual. Gauge the level of happiness with 7 characteristics such as intensity, duration, fecundity (how likely the pleasure or pain is to be followed by more pleasure and pain). REPEAT the process for all individuals/groups involved. Sum their happiness/unhappiness for the overall amount. REPEAT this process for all possible actions/choices in the situation. THE ACTION WITH THE BEST SCORE IS THE MORALLY RIGHT ACTION -p84 ANY given amount of HAPPINESS be should be spread among as many people as possible. The greatest happiness for the greatest number.

AND WHAT IS HAPPINESS? HAPPINESS IS PLEASURE Mill: 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. -84 THE NATURE Of HAPPINESS: Bentham: Happiness varies/measured only in QUANTITY Intensity, duration, fecundity Mill: Happiness varies/measured in QUANTITY and QUALITY Lower Pleasures: eating, drinking, sex Higher Pleasures: pursuing knowledge, appreciating beauty, creating art, etc. The higher pleasures are superior to the lower pleasures Thus, for Mill: It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. There is difficulty in ranking the various pleasures in Mills status, how do it ?based on who? People have different ideas about what things are intrinsically valuable, so pursuing art may not be valuable to one person but is for another, how do you decide? Even preferences may be objectionable from people to people. Difficult to clear this up RULE UTILITARIANISM Aims at the greatest good for all affected BUT maintains that we travel an indirect route to that goal. The morally right action is NOT the one that directly brings about the greatest good but the one covered by a rule that if followed consistently, produces the greatest good for all. This principle ask, What if everyone followed this rule? So, a rule utilitarian tries to follow every VALID RULE, even if doing so may not maximize utility in a specific situation. The act util. considers the specific action only and what are the consequences WHEREAS The rule util. also considers what moral rules seem to apply to the situation. -85

For instance, a RULE may be: 1) It is permissible to conduct medical procedures or experiments on people without their full knowledge and consent in order to substantially advance medical science OR 2) Do not conduct medical procedures or experiments on people without their full knowledge and consent. If the first rule is followed happiness is not likely to follow because of distrust, doctors killing patients for advancement, run amok, etc. If second rule is followed happiness is likely, trust, advancement, etc. EVALUATING THE THEORY CRITIQUE Justice, rights, obligations sometime outweigh amount of happiness -some inconsistency with considered judgments such as justice/injustice, equal distribution, etc. -sometime right actions of util. may violate rights of individuals. People have certain rights that should not be violated just in order to bring a better balance of happiness -sometime obligations to others (promises, commitments, contracts, covenants) outweigh considerations of overall happiness QUESTIONS: the no-rest problem Should util. aways require that ALL our actions require the greatest good. So if Im watching T.V. isnt there a greater good action I could be doing. Whatever you are doing, there usually is a greater good action you could be doing? Differentiate between actions of duty and going beyond ones duty -distinguish between actions that are morally required and praiseworthy but not strictly required actions (supererogatory actions) ARENT there times when NORMS of justice and duty SHOULD be ignored for greater good? RULE utilitarianism addresses this by positing rules that SHOULD CONSISTENTLY be followed, but not always! Allowing for exceptions The attempt to address the exceptions 1) Rule util. wants to address that MORAL RULES are important, do not kill 2) Utility is important

Summary, With its problems, it does seem to be an adequate theory 1) Begs us to consider that our Consequences do matter and make a difference in our moral decisions 2) The principle incorporates the theory of impartiality, considering all people in decisions and treating as equals 3) A moral theory of promoting human welfare, not just individual welfare. Beneficence: the obligation to act for the well-being of others