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Reading: Chapter 6-Ethical Insights - Birsch (Rickia)

1. What is the author’s main thesis? The author’s main thesis is to distinguish between act utilitarianism (Jeremy Bentham) and rule utilitarianism (John Stuart Mill).

2A. What is one of the main points the author uses to help them prove their thesis? One main point that the author uses to help prove his thesis is to find the initial meaning of and how it benefits to the source of moral goodness or how it reflects the outcome of unethical judgment.

2B. What is one of the main points the author uses to help them prove their thesis? One main point that the author uses to help prove their thesis is to explore Jeremy Bentham’s philosophy of act utilitarianism (Happiness is the source of moral goodness).

2C. What is one of the main points the author uses to help them prove their thesis? One main point that the author uses to prove his point is to explore John Stuart Mill’s philosophy of rule utilitarianism (best act is to follow the general rule which would yield the most happiness).

3A. How does 2A support the author’s thesis? Utilitarianism is a consequentiality theory which means it is a theory that claims that good and evil are related to consequences or results.

3B. How does 3B support the author’s thesis? Bentham believed that in order for act utilitarianism to sustain; intrinsic values such as minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure need to occur. Actions of the individuals essential morality is highly favorable if it increases pleasure for everyone affected (quantity).

3C. How does 3C support the author’s thesis? Like Bentham's, Mill's utilitarianism deals with maximizing happiness by the (quality). However Mill believed that there is a definite distinction between what one desires and what is good.

4.If the author brings up any counter argument, what is it?
• Not everyone will be able to measure their happiness.
• It is difficult if not impossible to do the calculations required.
Contrary to Moral Intuitions- lying, cheating, killing, stealing

  • The Republic (Latin word) -> politera- city

Plato- lived 420ish -350ish B.C
Socrates- teacher lived 469 B.C- 399 B.C
Cephalos (name means head) when u die you think about justice, speak the truth and pay debts to gods and others Ex: Gives friend a gun back.
Ploemarchus (name means warcheif) - helping friends and hurting enemies, if someone does good things to do, then do well upon
them - opposite /
Prisoners’ dilemma - always better telling on other person
Thrasymarchus middle aged and sophist (name means mad dog) what's good for the strong

Naturalistic diff between "is and ought"
Fallacy- mistake in your reasoning
Descriptive -claims about the way the world "is" Ex: gravity
Prescriptive- claims about how things "should" be
Normative- claims about how things "should" be/stronger claims about how things "have" to be Ex: laws

Is justice in itself?
1. Appearance and Reality 2. Rings of Gyges 3. The totally vs. untotally unjust person
Socrates- good in themselves and for something else
Glaucon- good for something else but not good in themselves

Deontologists: Kant is the most famous denotoglist/ uses god as a reference
The main approaches to ethical thinking in Western Philopshy Deontology
1. Divine Command Theory - reasons why I act
A. because God tells me too
B. I can know unambiguously the will of God
Deontologists are NOT COSEUQUENTISTS!!!!!!!!!!

Consequentialism- Utilitarianism - outcomes goodness depends on outcome/ Ethical Egoism- do what’s best for themselves
Not all hedislosts are egothesist
Virtue Ethics- the qualities I try to exhibit character / be
Ethics say what should be not what is

  • Ethical Assassin

Lem- sells encyclopedias as a means to put self through College, 18 years old, witness to Karen and Bastard's murder
Karen and Bastard - get shot
Jim Doe- cop, tries to rape a reporter, but she beats him in the crotch
Melford murderer - blames it on ideology- set of values or ideas through which one looks at the world
Melford- why do we have prisons?
Bentham- wants to reform prisoners

How can we make prison useful? Make sure we punish prisoners well to result good outcome
How do prisons led to good outcome
Theory of punishment-Deterrent- thought of punishment/ rehabilitation
• Bentham says that intensions matter more than outcome? True (ends more important than means)
• Birch distinguishes between –act utilitarianism /rule utilitarianism
• Bentham says that the principle of asceticism is the opposite of the principle of utility
• Egoism- do what’s best for themselves
• Not all egoist are headest
• Hedonism- seeking out pleasure <- short term pleasure
Accetric behavior- deny pleasure Ex: starve yourself
Utilitarianism- apply principle of utility to society
1. Intensity 2. Certainty 3. Duration 4. Cost

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