PHIL-101, Ethics. HW 4 Study Guide
Santa Barbara SBCC, CA. Intro to Ethics Philosophy
Terms in this set (8)
1. Give and explain the basic idea of the principle of utility or the greatest happiness principle.
The greatest happiness principle states that we ought to do that which furthers the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people. This means basically that when deciding what is good or what we ought to do we ought to consider which of our alternatives produces more overall happiness.
2. What does it mean to speak of utilitarianism as a consequentialist moral theory? As a teleological moral theory?
As a consequentialist moral theory Utilitarianism holds that actions ought to be judged in terms of their consequences. As a teleological theory it directs us to look towards the ends of our actions, in this case their consequences.
3.What is the difference between intrinsic and instrumental good? Give examples of each.
Something is intrinsically good when it is good in itself. An example of this is happiness. Some might also say that knowledge is good in itself. Something is instrumentally good when it is good because it is useful for producing or bringing about something else. An example of this is money. It is not good in itself but because of what we can do with it.
4. Which of the following statements exemplify consequencealist reasoning's? Can all of the be given consequencealist interpretations if explained? Explain your answers.
A: Honesty is the best policy.
B: Sue has the right to know the truth.
C. What good is going to come from giving money to a homeless person on the street?
D. There is a symbolic value present in personally giving something to another person in need.
E. It is only fair that you give him a chance to compete for the position.
F. If I do not study for my ethics exam, it will hurt my GPA.
G. If you are not honest with others, you cannot expect them to be honest with you.
a. Consequentialist, if the reason it is the best policy is that it generally has good consequences.
b. Not on the face of it. It implies that one has a right to the truth regardless of the consequences.
c. Consequentialist. It implies that it is the consequences of giving the money that is important.
d. Not on the face of it. It seems to imply that the symbolic value is worthwhile in itself. However it could be developed into a consequentialist argument if the results of this symbolic expression were stressed.
e. Not on the face of it. Matters of fairness are usually contrasted with concerns about results.
f. Consequentialist. The bad results to the individual's GPA.
g. Could be consequentialist, if it means that the results of my lack of honesty with others will be that they will not be honest with me. On the other hand, it would be non-consequentialist if it meant that as a matter of fairness I should not expect that others be honest with me if I am not honest with them.
5. Is Utilitarianism a hedonist moral theory? Why or Why not?
Yes, in the sense that at least in its classical version it is a pleasure theory. However, it is not hedonist if by that is meant that only physical pleasures count.
6. Using utilitarian calculations, which choice in each of the following pairs is better X or Y?
a. X is better, for it has a net result value of 3, whereas Y has a net value of -1.
b. X is better, for it has a net result value of 15, whereas Y has a net value of 10. The fact that in Y no one is unhappy does not count in itself. It would count only if the unhappiness of the 5 in X would cause more unhappiness.
c. Y is better, for it produces 12 hours of pleasure, whereas X produces 10 hours.
d. X is better, for although it makes fewer people happy, it makes them very happy, and it also makes 1 more person unhappy than Y but they are only mildly unhappy. If you use a scale such as in the text, it would be the same. X is better for it produces 5 x 10 degrees (50) and 3 x -2 (-6) or = 44 person/degrees. Y produces 6 x 5 degrees (30) and 2 x -10 (-20) = 10 people/degrees.
7. What is Mill's argument for the difference in value between intellectual and sensual pleasures?
That people who have experienced a variety of pleasures will give a decided preference for some over others (intellectual over sensual). That they wouldn't be willing to opt for the life of a fully satisfied pig over the life of a human with peculiarly human pleasures, in spite of human pains that accompany them. Thus because they so value the specifically human pleasure, they are in fact then more valuable.
8. Which of the following is an example of act utilitarian reasonings and which rule utilitarian reasonings? Explain your answer.
a. Act utilitarian, because all the results alluded to are the results of this act of mine of not going to the meeting.
b. Rule utilitarian, because the reason why I should tell my patient the truth is that the general practice of physician honesty is good. It is what would result if physicians generally lied that is the reason why I should not lie.
c. Rule utilitarian, if it means that I should keep my promise because the practice of promise keeping has good results. It could be interpreted as act utilitarianism if it meant that in each case the results of promise-keeping are good and that is why in each case the person should keep his or her promise.
d. Act utilitarian, because the results referred to are results of this act of cheating.
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