Module 3 Discussion
The information that you will need for the discussion can be found in Case 4k, p. 109; of Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues. For this case, identify the parties and the moral issue(s) at stake, keeping an eye out for similarities that it shares with the other cases. Concentrate on identifying the benefits and burdens that pertain to the parties affected in order to apply the principle of utility.
In this week’s module we saw that because motives are not all that relevant according to Consequentialism, it wouldn’t matter who is doing the calculation of benefits and burdens in the assessment of utility. The calculation is purely objective. Indeed, to the utilitarian’s mind, the objectivity of the principle was intended to counterbalance the weight of archaic social customs and religious influences on social polices. Do you agree with the utilitarians that social and religious customs stand in the way of happiness? Briefly explain and defend your view.
We also saw this week that Mill’s justification for distinguishing higher and lower pleasures relies upon an empirical method of surveying those who have experienced a variety of pleasures, both high and low, and that Mill believed that those with the most varied experiences will agree that higher quality pleasures are well worth the effort (the pleasures of intellectual stimulation, friendship, and civic engagement, etc. were mentioned, as opposed to the satisfaction of only immediate physical pleasures). Mill thought that the weight of human experience allows us to predict that it is “better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.” My question for you is, do you see any problems or shortcomings that might arise with Mill’s preferred method of justification? In this week’s module you were asked whether or not you wanted to step up in order to argue in defense of the fool? Provide your answer to that question here, along with your reasons for holding it.