Utilitarianism ethics

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  1. Was bentham focussed on the outcome of an action or not?
    Yes he was
  2. What two sovereigns has nature placed humans under, according to Bentham?
    Pleasure and pain
  3. What is a hedonist?
    A person who dictates their life in pursuit of pleasure
  4. Define: Hedonic calculus
    Seven basic tests for determining whether an action will maximise pleasure and minimise pain
  5. What are the seven parts of the hedonic calculus? (PRICED F)
    • Purity 
    • Remoteness
    • Intensity
    • Certainty (of pleasure occurring)
    • Extent (how many people are effected by it) 
    • Duration
    • Fecundity (how likely it is to produce other pleasurable experiences)
  6. What are the strengths of Bentham's utilitarianism?
    • Provides a clear, mathematical approach to deciding on any course of action 
    • Popular approach as people want to avoid pain
    • It looks at the consequences of an action
    • Common sense is involved, easily accessible to everyone
  7. What are the weaknesses to Bentham's utilitarianism?
    • All pleasures are viewed at equal value
    • What is pleasure for one person may not be for another
    • Rejects the idea of human rights 
    • Hedonic calculus is not practical to apply quickly 
    • Relies on accurately predicting the consequences of an action - not always possible
    • Some people make decisions that are not designed to bring them personal pleasure
  8. What is a priori?
    Something that can be known without experience
  9. What is a posteriori?
    Something that is known from experience and logical deduction of the material world
  10. Define: Empiricism
    The idea that knowledge can only be gained through rational analysis of the observation of sensory experiences of the material world
  11. Define: utilitarianism
    The belief that the rightness of an action, rule or principle is to be judged by its presumed consequences.
  12. What is the principle of utility?
    The method utilitarians use to maximise good
  13. What do utilitarians base goodness and rightness on?
    • Human experience. 
    • For them, what is good is that which maximises happiness
  14. Define: optimific
    The term used to describe the achievement of the maximisation of happiness
  15. What are the three different strands of utilitarianism?
    • 1. Act utilitarianism 
    • 2. Rule utilitarianism
    • 3. Preference utilitarianism
  16. Define: teleology
    designed for or directed at a final end
  17. Define: consequentialism
    The consequences of an action solely determined by whether or not it is the right thing to do
  18. What was Bentham's utilitarianism based around?
    The idea of individualism (everyone is free to create their own morality based on nature, not God)
  19. Was Bentham an atheist?
    • No, Bentham made it very clear that he was a 'non-theist'. 
    • He rejected the term atheist because he thought it was impossible for any human to know whether God exists or not
  20. What did Bentham believe was the one single basis for ethics?
  21. Who came first, Bentham or Mill?
    Bentham. His work inspired Mill to create his own
  22. What aspects of Bentham's utilitarian ideas did Mill not like and why?
    The Hedonic Calculus as it judged all pleasure to be of the same worth
  23. In what way did Mill divide pleasure?
    Into two groups, higher and lower pleasures
  24. Higher pleasures satisfy the body

    True or False

    • higher pleasures satisfy the mind
    • Examples: reading and music
  25. Higher pleasures satisfy the Mind

    True or False
  26. Lower pleasures satisfy the body

    True or False

    Examples include: food and sex
  27. Lower pleasures satisfy the mind

    True or False

    Lower pleasures satisfy the body
  28. What did Mill argue was the only desirable thing for humans?
    • Happiness.
    • He argued that other things only seem desirable because they lead to happiness
  29. Was Rule utilitarianism Bentham or Mill's way of thinking?
  30. What is Rule utilitarianism?
    Making general rules and decisions that benefit the greatest good, which may sacrifice individual pleasure
  31. Which two utilitarians believed in Act utilitarianism?
    Sedgwick and Bentham
  32. What is Act utilitarianism?
    Judging every situation individually in order to achieve the best outcome
  33. What are the criticisms to Mill's utilitarianism?
    • Higher and lower pleasures are meaningless terms, people either get pleasure from something or they don't
    • Mill suggests that human progress can only be made through higher pleasures but they can also be made through lower pleasures
    • Created an over complicated formula to make decisions
  34. What similarities are there between Bentham and Mill's utilitarianism?
    • Belief that preference to pleasure over pain is inbuilt part of human nature
    • Belief that happiness is the highest good for humans
    • Belief that human society exists to create happiness
    • Rejection of religion and the Divine Command Theory
  35. Match these up:

    Quanity of pleasure is most important
    Quality of pleasure is more important
    Bentham - Quanity of pleasure is most important

    Mill - Quality of pleasure is more important
  36. Why did Mill think that we need human rights?
    He believed that without individual liberty, society's happiness is not possible
  37. Define: preference utilitarianism
    Utilitarian theory that takes into account the preferences of all those involved in a particular course of action. 

    Wants the greatest good for the greatest number of people
  38. Name an example of a preference utilitarian
    Peter Singer
  39. What is consequentialism?
    The idea that the moral status of an act is determined by its consequences. The morality of the person performing the act is not relevant
  40. Which utilitarian was it that said:

    "equal preferences count equally, whatever their content"
    R.M. Hare
  41. Which utilitarian was it that said:

    "Our own preferences cannot count anymore than the preferences of others"
    Peter Singer
  42. Define: manifest preference
    What you prefer based on immediate desires and needs
  43. Define: True preference
    What you prefer having reflected upon all the information known and the likely consequences
  44. What did Singer say was the biggest strength of utilitarianism?
    It doesnt give a clear cut answer of what is right or wrong but provides a means of approaching ethical issues
  45. What are the criticisms of preference utilitarianism? (3)
    • difficult to know whether someone is choosing something out of manifest or true preference 
    • Preferences change over time 
    • The idea that someone will prefer something because it benefits someone else is not concidered
  46. What are the strengths of utilitarianism? (5)
    • Allows humans to reason what the right thing to do is 
    • A simple and easy idea to understand
    • Shows that it is in human beings best interest to be morally good
    • Doesnt rely on religion
  47. What are the weaknesses to utilitarianism as a whole?
    • based on outdated ideas of nature
    • Ignores minority groups
    • ignores the concept of doing something out of a sense of duty
    • Ignores the idea of self-sacrifice for the happiness of other people
Card Set
Utilitarianism ethics
all that bentham and mill good stuff
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