Utilitarianism – Mill and Essay Practise By the end of this lesson you will have: •Presented your ‘utilitarianism’ extracts to the rest of the group • Have learnt about Rule utilitarianism •Have discovered how compatible Mill’s utilitarianism is with Christianity
Virtual Notes – ‘Utilitarianism’• P.1 – Mill agrees with utilitarianism. Bentham’s theory neglects certain pleasures; beauty, ornament, amusement (eg theatre education)• People pursue pleasure in the moment (drugs, drink) rather than higher pleasures.• To better society, people should stop pursuing lower pleasures.• ‘the theory of utility meant by it not something to be contrdistinguished from pleasure but pleasure itself’
• P2. Utility and GHP hold the keys to happiness. Good = pleasure, bad = pain.• In Bentham’s theory, everything promotes pleasure.• ‘By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain, by unhappiness pain and the prevention of pleasure’
• P3. High pleasures should be aimed for by humans.• In order to achieve higher pleasures we should be stoic (which means to endure hardships), train ourselves• Lower pleasures are those that animals desire (bodily) and are a ‘quick fix’• Christianity: has stoic elements which are approved of, and help us to achieve higher pleasures.• Human beings have faculties more elevated than the animal
• P4. Lower pleasures cannot be put with intellect, the mind and morals.• Utilitarian writers have realised the pleasures of the mind are superior to the body• They realise that higher pleasures are more accessible to the higher classes, but all are capable of appreciating them,• Utilitarians recognise that some pleasures are more desirable• It would be absurd to base whether an act is right or wrong and the basis of quantity of happiness rather than the quality• ‘It would be absurd .... To base it on quantity alone’
• P5. Mill said that there is one possible answer on what makes one pleasure more valuable than the other...• A more desirable pleasure or a better one is where feeling isn’t taken into account,• If a person understands both pleasures and prefers one, even if they know it isn’t the ‘best’ pleasure, they should chose it even though the quantity outweighs the quality• If we go with higher pleasures, this will teleologicaly make a better society• There is of two pleasures ... Almost all will experience both...irrespective of any feeling to prefer it, that [the higher pleasure] is the more desirable pleasure’
• P6. There is a difference between contentment and happiness,• Those whose capacity of enjoyment is low they have more chance of satisfying it• We MUST stretch ourselves, even if this does not lead to certainty• It is better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied• Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool dissatisfied
Rule Utilitarianism• Believed that rules have a positive contribution to make to utilitarian ethics• Believed society should devise and stick to rules which would, in most cases, lead us to the common good• His theory can be split into weak and strong rule utilitarianism
Rule Utilitarianism• Strong rule = the person must always stick to the rules which have been devised• Weak rule = there may be situations in which the rules can be broken• Which one of the above is bordering on deontological?• Granny scarf example
Relation to Christianity• ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ – brings about a happy and pleasurable society• Stoic elements of Christianity show that we should endure ‘higher’ pleasures
Comparison Task• Complete the ‘compare Bentham and Mill’ worksheets in your booklets.
Essay Structure Plenary• Imagine you have to write an essay on Utilitarianism• Write a line of the essay, and then pass it on to the person next to you• You then add lines to the paper which is passed to you• Can we, as a group, get a decent essay answer?
Basic Structure...• Key words – teleological, consequentialist• Origins – 18th cent, industrial revolution, enlightenment• Jeremy Bentham – Pleasure/pain, Act utilitarianism, quantitative, hedonic calculus, p.r.r.i.c.e.d• Mill – problems he had with Bentham, quality, higher/lower pleasures, rule• REMEMBER: Key Words, Original Texts