PHL 204-07

*** QUIZ TODAY ***

2 Handouts: Theories of Ethics, Understanding Utilitarianism

Two main questions asked by philosophers

  1. What do you mean?
  2. How do you know?

Arguments, for Mill:

  • respond to objections
  • advocate directly for a claim

Mill’s defense of Hedonism

  • an objection to hedonism (Ch.2 pp.1-10)
  • proof of hedonism (Ch.4)
  • What is the objection to hedonism?
    things good for you acc. to hedonism: eating, drinking, sex, laziness, (7 deadly sins, basically) — pigs can do this

    But these too are good for you
    Art, poetry, philosophy, deep personal relationships — pigs cannot do this

    The Swine Objection

    1. If hedonism were correct, then the best life for a human being is the life of engaging in piglike activities (see above) and not engaging in distinctively human activities
    2. but the life of engaging in piglike activities and not engaging in distinctively human activities is not the best life for a human being to live
    3. therefore, hedonism is not correct

Mill rejects premise 1 above; accepts premise 2. Reason: we can experience pleasure from engaging in distinctively human capacities, where pigs cannot, and furthermore, the pleasures we get from engaging in these distinctive human capacities are better than the pleasures we get from engaging in the piglike capacities.

Two different things the latter claim might mean (pg. 56 pp.4 ln.10)

  1. Bentham’s answer: the piglike pleasures have tendencies to bring piglike pains
  2. the human pleasures have a tendency to lead to further pleasures
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