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Mill. Utilitarianism II. Utilitarianism. The Utilitarian Theory of Value : Something is intrinsically valuable iff it is pleasure and something is intrinsically disavaluable iff it is pain. A Utilitarian Theory of Permission : An action is permissible iff it maximizes overall value.

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Mill

Mill

Utilitarianism II


Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism

The Utilitarian Theory of Value: Something is intrinsically valuable iff it is pleasure and something is intrinsically disavaluableiff it is pain.

A Utilitarian Theory of Permission: An action is permissible iffit maximizes overall value.


Utilitarianism1

Utilitarianism


Utilitarianism2

Utilitarianism

Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.


The overdemandingness objection

The Overdemandingness Objection

“…the happiness which forms utilitarian standard of what is right in conduct, is not the agent’s own happiness, but that of all concerned. As between his own happiness and that of others, utilitarianism requires him to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator. The objectors… sometimes find fault with its standard as being too high for humanity. They say it is exacting too much to require that people shall always… be promoting the general interests of society.””

Utilitarianism, page 250


The surgeon objection

The Surgeon Objection

“Imagine yourself to be a surgeon, a truly great surgeon. Among the things you do, you transplant organs, and you are such a great surgeon that the organs you transplant always take. At the moment, you have five patients who need organs. Two need one lung each, two need a kidney each, and the fifth needs a heart. If they do not get those organs today, they will all die; if you find organs for them today, you can transplant the organs and they will all live. But where to find the lungs, the kidneys, and the heart? The time is almost up when a report is brought to you that a young man who has just come into your clinic for his yearly check-up has exactly the right blood-type and is in excellent health. Lo, you have a possible donor. All you need to do is cut him up and distribute his parts among the five who need them. You ask, but he says, "Sorry. I deeply sympathize, but no." Would it be morally permissible for you to operate anyway?”

Judith Jarvis Thomson, “The Trolley Problem”


The problem of rights

The Problem of Rights

Someone has a right to something only if it would be wrong for others to take that thing (or to refrain from giving it).

The Priority Thesis: If someone has a right to something, then it would be wrong for others to take that thing (or to refrain from giving it) because the person has a right to it.

The Universality Thesis: Everyone has a right to certain things, like life, liberty, and security.


The problem of rights1

The Problem of Rights

“It is proper to state that I forego any advantage which could be derived to my argument from the idea of an abstract right, as a thing independent of utility. I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions.”

On Liberty, page 13


The problem of rights2

The Problem of Rights

“To have a right, then, is, I conceive, to have something which society ought to defend me in the possession of. If the objector goes on to ask, why it ought? I can give him no other reason than general utility. If that expression does not seem to convey a sufficient feeling of the strength of the obligation, nor to account for the peculiar energy of the feeing, it is because there goes to the composition of the sentiment, not a rational only, but also an animal element…”

Utilitarianism, page 290


The problem of rights3

The Problem of Rights

The Utilitarian Thesis: If it would be wrong for others to take something from someone (or to refrain from giving it), then that person has a right to that thing because taking it would fail to maximize utility.

The Priority Thesis: If someone has a right to something, then it would be wrong for others to take that thing (or to refrain from giving it) because the person has a right to it.

The Universality Thesis: Everyone has a right to certain things, like life, liberty, and security.


On liberty

On Liberty

“The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amendable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part of which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

On Liberty, page 12


On liberty1

On Liberty

“The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amendable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part of which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

On Liberty, page 12


On liberty2

On Liberty

“The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amendable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part of which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

On Liberty, page 12


On liberty3

On Liberty

“The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amendable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part of which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

On Liberty, page 12


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