Utilitarian Ethics. Paley, Bentham, Mill, Sidgwick. Utilitarian Ethics. Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all people.
Paley, Bentham, Mill, Sidgwick
(and by extension, any higher-order moral considerations)
Bentham’s rebuttal: Vulgar or not, nature has placed us under two masters, pleasure and pain - there is no other standard
“It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool or a pig satisfied.”
Utilitarianism is NOT equivalent to selfishness. Mill writes:
“. . .between his own happiness and that of another, utilitarianism requires that one be strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator.”
“…not the agent’s own happiness but that of all concerned.”
Notions like “rights” and “justice” are merely “rules of thumb” that represent underlying calculations of overall utility (rule utilitarianism)
Is this what Mill really meant?
Example: (Not a deep moral issue)
Do I eat the donut this morning?Considerations:
1) Will die without extraordinary measures
2) Will live-
--don’t treat now
3) Might save if they get medical attention
So much for good intent!