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James Rachels: The debate over Utilitarianism

Page history last edited by Jerome E. Jose 13 years, 11 months ago

Jerome E. Jose                                                                                     Feb.06,2009 

BS-IS                                                                                                   Sir.Paul Pajo

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems  

            Library Reference: none


            Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James-White/dp/0495553204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1233910528&sr=1-1


                Quote: "The utilitarian doctrine is that happiness is desirable and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things desirable as means to that end."


                What I expect to learn: The meaning of debate oervutilitarianism and the importance of it on our society  



                        In general, the term utilitarian refers to a somewhat narrow economic or pragmatic viewpoint. Philosophical utilitarianism, however, is much broader: most approaches, for example, consider non-humans in addition to people. Rule-utilitarianism has no difficulty coping with the three utilitarian arguments. Rule utilitarianism by difference is without cause watered down version theory which gives rule a greater importance than they merit. Act-utilitarian is however recognizes to be radical doctrine which implies that many of our ordinary moral feelings may be mistaken.


                        In general, rule of utilitarianism are the actions of each individuals that is equated in to the rules that will lead to greater good while an Act Utilitarianism states that the right action is one that will give happiness to a person. For me, Rule utilitarianism in generally for the gretare happiness of many people.

                What I've learned: I have now deeply understood the true meaning of debate over Utilitarianism that James Rachels is talking about


                Integrative Questions:

  1. What is Hedonism?
  2. What is it for?
  3. What is Act Utilitarianism?
  4. What is Rule Utilitarianism?
  5. What is standard of utilitarianism?


  • Rachel’s says that classical utilitarianism can be summed up in three propositions. What are they?                

Actions are judged right or wrong solely in virtue of their consequences

In assessing consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness or unhappiness that caused.

In calculating happiness or unhappiness that will be caused , no one’s happiness is to be counted as more important than anyone else.


  •  Explain the problem with hedonism. How do defenders of utilitarianism respond to this problem?  

Hedonism states that pleasure is the only thing that is good for a person. Utilitarianism defenders defended it in a quantitative and qualitative approach.


  •  What are the objections about justice, rights and promises?  

Utilitarianism believed that pleasures do not necessarily share common traits besides the fact that they can be seen as pleasurable.


  • Distinguish between rule- and act- utilitarianism. How does rule- utilitarianism reply to the objections?

Rule Utilitarianism is based on rules while act utilitarianism is based on acts for own happiness. 


  • What is the third line of defence? 




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