An opinion on utilitarianism as the best of the moral theories

Along indirect act utilitarian lines, one could maintain that we would be cognitively overwhelmed by the task of calculating the consequences of any action. Posted on January 6, by Scott Alexander [Epistemic status: Except, once again, all the problems of the modern age appear in the Greek city-states as well.

A person's individual salvation, her eternal happiness, depended on conformity to God's will, as did virtue itself. Mill answers the latter in the negative. In one text passage, Mill even includes the happiness of animals.

This partly explains why he put such great emphasis on education. In Chapter 4 of Utilitarianism Mill noted … does the utilitarian doctrine deny that people desire virtue, or maintain that virtue is not a thing to be desired?

Why should one be morally obliged to follow a rule of which one positively knows that its observance in a particular case will not promote general utility? In it utilitarianism is viewed as an ethics for ordinary individual behaviour as well as for legislation. Male baboons threaten predators and cover the rear as the troop retreats.

It has been said that, even if standards of good and evil exist independently of God or the gods, divine revelation is the only reliable means of finding out what these standards are.

Bentham, in contrast to Mill, represented the egoistic branch — his theory of human nature reflected Hobbesian psychological egoism. When one legislates, however, one is legislating in support of, or against, certain actions. It seems likely that the same factors giving Canada a low murder rate give Wyoming a low murder rate, and that the factors differentiating the rest of America from Wyoming are the same factors that differentiate the rest of America from Canada and Germany, and France….

In contrast, the Second Formula tells us what our moral obligations are. Without an accepted criterion for the authenticity of a revelation or an interpretation, people are no better off, so far as reaching moral agreement is concerned, than they would be if they were to decide on good and evil themselves, with no assistance from religion.

But perception picks up on features of our environment that one could regard as having a contingent quality.

John Stuart Mill: Ethics

This is a feature crucial to the theological approach, which would clearly be rejected by Hume in favor of a naturalistic view of human nature and a reliance on our sympathetic engagement with others, an approach anticipated by Shaftesbury below.

He doesn't attempt a mere appeal to raw intuition. However, the wife has had no such training, and Jack can tell that Eli loves his wife very much. In the course of our socialization, goods, like knowledge, virtue, wealth or fame acquire value by their association with pleasure. Mill, John Stuart, Research in psychology and the neurosciences has thrown light on the role of specific parts of the brain in moral judgment and behaviour, suggesting that emotions are strongly involved in moral judgments, particularly those that are formed rapidly and intuitively.

Virtually every human society has some form of myth to explain the origin of morality. In the latter part of the 20th century some writers criticized utilitarianism for its failure to accommodate virtue evaluation.

His argument for the utilitarian principle — if not a deductive argument, an argument all the same — involves three steps.

So far they have not succeeded. Who would rather be a happy oyster, living an enormously long life, than a person living a normal life? Even people I respect — including Catholics from the Patheos community and a few rationalists from the Less Wrong community — recommend MacIntyre.

It isn't so much that there is a particular kind of action that is intrinsically wrong; actions that are wrong are wrong simply in virtue of their effects, thus, instrumentally wrong.

In The Subjection of Women, Mill caustically criticizes the moral intuitions of his contemporaries regarding the role of women. There may also be a loyalty to the group as a whole that is distinct from loyalty to individual members of the group.

He finds them incompatible with the basic principles of the modern world, such as equality and liberty. From an act utilitarian view regarding moral obligation, this is implausible. Bentham, in contrast to Mill, represented the egoistic branch — his theory of human nature reflected Hobbesian psychological egoism.

But such an objection presumes that those who do not have the desire to change themselves are missing something namely, the desire to changeand that, because of this lack, they are less free. This is interesting in moral philosophy — as it is far removed from the Kantian approach to moral evaluation as well as from natural law approaches.

The argument is questionable because Mill overturns the presumption he introduces: His utilitarian leanings are distinct from his moral sense approach, and his overall sentimentalism.John Stuart Mill: Ethics.

The ethical theory of John Stuart Mill () is most extensively articulated in his classical text Utilitarianism (). Its goal is to justify the utilitarian principle as the foundation of morals.

This principle says actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote overall human happiness. (This post is my summary of a chapter in a book I often used in university classes: Twelve Theories of Human Nature, by Stevenson, Haberman, and Wright, Oxford Univ.

Press.) Freud’s Career – “Freud’s psychoanalytic approach to the mind revolutionized our understanding of human nature in. by John Stuart Mill () CHAPTER I INTRODUCTORY. THE subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.

A few weeks ago the blogosphere discovered Ayn Rand’s margin notes on a C.S. Lewis book. They were everything I expected and more. Lewis would make an argument, and then Rand would write a stream of invective in the margin about how much she hated Lewis’ arguments and him personally.

Utilitarianism, Justice, and Love

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility, which is usually defined as that which produces the greatest well-being of the greatest number of people, and in some cases, sentient animals.

Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of.

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An opinion on utilitarianism as the best of the moral theories
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