Phi208: ethics and moral reasoning – wk2 discussion 2 100 words

Hello class, please select ONE of the four options below.

Utilitarianism

 

1.       1.Early in the text Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill (2014) says that that utilitarianism is based on a “theory of life” that some have called “a doctrine worthy only of swine.” What is this “theory of life,” and how does he draw upon it to defend the utilitarian theory of morality? What do critics mean when they call this a “doctrine worthy only of swine,” and how does Mill respond to that criticism? Do you think that his response vindicates this “theory of life”, or is he mistaken about what has ultimate value in human life? Finally, does his view make utilitarianism more plausible or less plausible as a moral theory?   Your posts should demonstrate that you have read and thought critically about Mill’s text. 

 

2.       2.Utilitarianism is based on the notion of bringing about the greatest good, which requires some conception of what “the good” is such that this can be identified, measured, and calculated in a way that is consistent across time, place, and people.  Is there any such “good” that has these characteristics?  What does Mill identify as the good, and does it have these characteristics?  What about Singer?  What good does he seem to be referring to and does it have these characteristics?  What implications would there be if we can’t identify a good of the sort that the utilitarian seems to need? 

 

3.       3. One famous worry about utilitarianism is that it demands that we regard our own set of desires, ends, and our own happiness, as just one among a great many others whose lives we might impact.  Accordingly, our own desires, ends, etc. bear very little weight when determining what the greatest happiness of the greatest number is, and thus what our moral responsibility is.  Think of a situation or area of life in which this might be true, and our concern for our own well-being and happiness has to take a back seat to the concern for the well-being and happiness of the greatest number.  What might a utilitarian say to someone who thinks this is too high a sacrifice? Would this be a plausible response?  Be sure to back up your answer with references to the resources, and respond to your peers by considering what someone who disagrees with them might say. 

 

4.      4. If the primary goal of utilitarianism is to generate the greatest good for the greatest number, a secondary goal is to minimize suffering.   Using at least one quote from one of the required readings, discuss the ways in which these two principles are consistent or inconsistent with each other.   If you think they are consistent, provide a real or imagined example that illustrates this consistency.  If you think they are inconsistent, provide a real or imagined example that illustrates this inconsistency.  Complete your post by discussing whether minimizing suffering is equal to, lesser than, or more important that generating the greatest good for the greatest number.