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Utilitarianism

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Mind map on Utilitarianism - Act, Rule and Preference
Alice Storr
Mind Map by Alice Storr, updated more than 1 year ago
Alice Storr
Created by Alice Storr over 6 years ago
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Resource summary

Utilitarianism
  1. Bentham - Act
    1. 'Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do as well as to determine what we shall do.'
      1. Based on HEDONISM
        1. Measured by the hedonic calculus
          1. 1. Intensity
            1. 2. Duration
              1. 3. Certainity
                1. 4. Remoteness
                  1. 5. Chance of subsequent pleasure(s)
                    1. 6. Purity
                      1. 7. Extent
                      2. Avoiding pain and seeking pleasure
                        1. Happiness= pleasure minus pain
                        2. A moral act is the one that brings the most pleasure
                          1. His approach is quantitative because it uses a scale to analyse the amount of pleasure and pain in a statistical way
                            1. He argued that we should be guided by the principle of utility rather than by rules
                              1. STRENGTHS
                                1. Good way of making the most happy
                                  1. Minimises pain
                                    1. Measurable
                                      1. Logical
                                        1. Fairly instinctive
                                        2. WEAKNESSES
                                          1. Isn't always easy to apply calculus
                                            1. Cold approach to hapiness
                                              1. Doesn't distinguish between quality + quantity of pleasures
                                                1. Could be morally wrong even if it fits with Principle of Utility
                                                  1. Doesn't work for heat of the moment decisions
                                                    1. Can justify immoral acts
                                                      1. More than just animal instincts when it comes to pleasure and pain
                                                        1. We don't always look for pleasure
                                                      2. Mill - Rule
                                                        1. Happiness rather than pleasure
                                                          1. We are most happy when actions promote happiness rather than pleasure
                                                            1. Some kinds of pleasure are more important than others
                                                              1. Humans can feel higher pleasures than animals so it is right that pleasure should be split into higher and lower pleasures
                                                                1. Mill argues that happiness is something that people desire purely for happiness but we need to look at life as a whole; happiness is not just adding up the units of pleasure but actually fulfilling higher deals
                                                                  1. Need universabillity
                                                                    1. People need to put the interests of others before their own interests
                                                                      1. Needs to be some rules in order to establish social order and justice
                                                                        1. STRENGTHS
                                                                          1. Instinctive
                                                                            1. Warmer approach to happiness
                                                                              1. Stops selfishness
                                                                                1. Qualitative
                                                                                2. WEAKNESSES
                                                                                  1. Could be seen as too complex for applying to every ethical decision
                                                                                3. General
                                                                                  1. Utilitarianism is based on the principle of utility which states that we should do the action which produces the best outcomes for the most people
                                                                                    1. Considering all outcomes means the theory is consequentialist/teleological
                                                                                      1. The theory is secular and can be applied to every decision making scenario
                                                                                        1. The theory is relativist because every decision depends on the individual scenario
                                                                                          1. STRENGTHS
                                                                                            1. Beneficial for the majority
                                                                                              1. Looks at all consequences
                                                                                                1. Tries to help people
                                                                                                  1. Often ethically right
                                                                                                    1. Logical
                                                                                                      1. Not based on religious principles
                                                                                                      2. WEAKNESSES
                                                                                                        1. Supresses the minority
                                                                                                          1. Against natural selection
                                                                                                            1. Could be selfish
                                                                                                              1. Could be ethically wrong
                                                                                                                1. Doesn't value the individual
                                                                                                                  1. Difficult to know whether the predicted consequences will happen
                                                                                                                2. Preference Utilitariansim
                                                                                                                  1. Recent form of utilitarianism associated by Hare, Singer and Brandt
                                                                                                                    1. Judges moral actions according to whether they fit in with the individuals preferences
                                                                                                                      1. Considers preferences of all conscious beings
                                                                                                                        1. Hare- consider our own preferences and others'. EMPATHY
                                                                                                                          1. Singer- animals should be treated with equal rights as humans are in certain circumstances. Should also take viewpoint of an impartial spectator when making decisions (OBJECTIVE)
                                                                                                                            1. Makes decisions based on best outcome for preferences of individual- doesn't look at most pleasure/least pain
                                                                                                                            2. Brandt- Preferences would be different if you had had cognitive psychology so you knew your true values and were therefore not influenced by things like advertising
                                                                                                                              1. All secular
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