1.1.1 jermey bentham created the
'happiness principle' that the best
action to take is the one which
causes the greatest happiness
for the greatest number of people,
this is what Act Utilitarianism is
based on. it is a consequencialist
theory as it is based on the
consequences of an action.
126.96.36.199 Mill: happiness is too complex and indefinable
to be applied to direct actions. we have learnt
over time which actions are the best to take via
trail and error, these are called secondary
principles and inform us on which action to
take. he argued that the happiness principle
should only be applied when two secondary
principles conflict with each other
188.8.131.52 it can justify immoral act as being moral
184.108.40.206 it can create un-reasnable
demands on people as there is
always an action which can cause
greater happiness, e.g. if i go buy
a cd the happiness principle
would indicate that the money
should go to charity, this can lead
to all my money going to charity.
220.127.116.11 it doesn't place my
happiness above anyone
else's, so if an action causes
me unhappiness but others
more happiness then i should
1.1.3 how can we figure out the consequences of an action to see if it will maximise
happiness? Bentham argues that in fact an action is right if it's in accordance to the
'tendancy which it appears to have' to maximise happiness. so we don't precisely
work out which action will cause the greatest happiness we just need to have
reasonable effect that it will cause the greatest happiness.
1.2 rule utilitarianism
1.2.1 an action is right if it complies
with the rules which everyone
has agreed upon, by following
these rules the greatest
happiness will be caused
1.2.2 advantages over act utilitarianism
18.104.22.168 immoral acts that would be
permisable under Act would be
22.214.171.124 we don't need to work out which action will cause
the greatest happiness each time as this would
have previously been done collectivley
126.96.36.199 a rule which allows people toact upon integrity
will promote more happiness than any other
188.8.131.52 it is not so demanding on people and rules will permit people t do their 'fair share'
184.108.40.206 exceptions to rule will occur and as more and more
occur it will eventually turn in to Act Utilitarianism
220.127.116.11.1 Rule response
18.104.22.168.1.1 ule utilitarianism is the only theory which provides guidance
22.214.171.124.1.2 even though at time it will seem that by creating exceptions
we can cause more happiness, by breaking the rules we will
cause more unhappiness as it will promote others to break
1.3 preference theory
1.3.1 people's preferences should be maximised instead of their pleasure being maximised
126.96.36.199 they are easier to gauge and compare than pleasures
188.8.131.52 can be right to satisfy some ones preferences even if they don't know
184.108.40.206 distinguishes between higher and lower preferences, arguing that not all
preferences are the same, some are lower bodily preferences and others
are higher preferences, we should aim to satisfy the higher preferences.
220.127.116.11 focuses on maximises happiness not achieving justice
18.104.22.168 is happiness really what matters
22.214.171.124.1 kant argued that happiness is not always good.
1.4.1 bentham and mill were hedonists as they believed that happiness and avoiding pain is pleasure.
126.96.36.199 bentham argued that happiness can be calulated using
the 'felicific calculus' we can calculate who much an action
is worth: if pleasure is more intense, will last longer, more
certain to occur, happen sooner rather than latter, or will in
turn create more pleasure and less pain.
2.1 theory based on duty to do something good and to
prevent something bad, the actions are not judged
on their consequences they are judged in
themselves. often when there's a right there's a duty,
but there are cases when you have a duty but there's
no right, e.g. charity
2.2 there are two classes of duties: 1st general duties
towards anyone, they can be prohibiting(i.e. don't
kill) or positive (i.e. help people in need). 2nd duties
that come as a result of our personal and soicial
relationships (i.e. dopn't break a promise). we only
have to be concerned with our own duties not
2.3 how do we find out what our duties
2.3.1 they can be found by appealing to reason and insight, W.D.
Ross argued that there were self-evident duties which were
called prima facie's, which are: fidelity (keeping a promise),
reperation (when we have done something wrong), gratitude,
justice, benefeicience (helping others), self-improvement and
2.3.2 aquinas argued that we use insight to discover what is good and about the insight of
human flurishing, we have direct rational insight into what is good and this informs us
about human flurishing. what's good id truely desirable and what's bad is truly
undesirable. there are things which are self-eidently truly desirable, like: friendship,
marriage, life and so on.
2.3.3 an absolute duty is when it allows for no
exceptions, this can cause problems though
when there is conflict between two absolute
188.8.131.52 some say that a real conflict of duties can
never occur, as when it does what has
happened is someone has misunderstood
184.108.40.206 most duties are not absolute so some duties can
'give way'. w.d.ross argued that normal duties are
not absolute, but at first sight prima facia are, so in
conflict one will have to give way and not become a
220.127.116.11 how do we resolve conflict of
18.104.22.168.1 w.d.ross argues that there is no criteria for this so we
should use our judgement. deontologists argue that this
lack of criteria is a strength as life provides choices in
which the best option is unclear. to be moral consists of
using judgement not knowledge of a philisophical theory
2.4 utilitarians object that to have a duty is not
enough as you also need to enforce it, i.e. the
duty not to kill also requires you to prevent
2.5.1 moral principles can be derived
from reason alone, we only need to
understand what it is to make a
decision to be able to discover what
decision to make.
2.5.2 the premises put in place: 1st, all
decisions have maxims behind them,
2nd morality is a set of rules which apply
to everyone, so the maxim chosen had
to be able for everyone to do it.
2.5.3 the 'categorical imperative' (Categorical as we can't
take it or leave it, and imperative as it's a command)was
divsed to see if a particular maxim was morally good. if
the maxim can be put as universal law and followed by
everyone then it is morally good. this led to the 'two
22.214.171.124 1st a maxim can fail if it's a 'contradiction in terms', where the maxim would
collapse if everybody followed it. 2nd is when it's a 'contradiction in will', when it
contradicts itself in the means of it getting carried out, Kant gave the example of
the maxim 'nobody should help anyone', this is a contradiction in will because: 1st
a will by definition wills its ends, 2nd to truly will the ends would mean to will the
means, 3rd we can't will a situation in which it is impossible to achieve our ends.
126.96.36.199 it is based on reason. it is not just morally wrong but also irrational to disobey the categorical
imperative. but why should morality be about being rational? morality is supposed to guide our
actions, it can only do this if it motivates us. only 2 things motivate us, happiness and reason, but
happiness can't motivate us because what makes people happy differs from person to person but
morality is the same for everyone, utilitarians would object saying that we're motivated by the greatest
happiness but Kant says its only our happiness which motivates us and often utilitarians refer to
reason here. happiness is not always morally good, so morality can't be grounded in happiness and
has to be grounded in reason.
188.8.131.52 objections to the categorical
184.108.40.206.1 any maxim can be justified if it's phrased cleverly,
but Kant would respond that the categorical
imperative only applies to real maxims, so this
requires that we're honest with each other.
220.127.116.11.2 it can deliver some strange results were i can act in a way that isn't
immoral but as everyone cant act in that way it's seen as immoral.
kant can respond that it's irrational to act in a way that nobody else
can act .
2.5.4 the formula of humanity. people are ends in themselves
so can't be used soley as a means, you can use them
as a mean but you have to respect their humanity.
2.5.5 the idea of good will means that the
motivating factor for an act should be duty
over anything else, an action isn't moral if it'
motivated by want, no matter the outcome, an
action is only moral if it's motivated by a
sense of duty.
18.104.22.168.1 we are often motivated by feelings rather than duties, according to kant
actions out of feelings are immoral, but this seems odd? kant can reply that
he isn't trying to stop us being motivated by our feelings, but when there is a
choice about what to do are feelings aren't as important as what's morally
2.5.6 practical insight involves more than one kind of insight. 1st insight into what
is good or bad for man, namely human flurishing. 2nd knowing what's
required of you in a general situation in light of what's good.
2.6 there is no formal procedure for decision making, but aristotle uses
practical reason, it requires not only a theoretical knowledge but also a
capacity to act on that knowledge, the capacity requires: 1st general
conception of what's good or bad,, aristotle relates this to a condition of
human flurishing. 2nd ability to percieve what's required in a general
conception. 3rd ability to deliberate well. 4th ability to act on deliberation.
practical wisdom can't be tought as its learnt through experience.