Act and rule utilitarianism


Criticism of act util

  • Act utilitarianism could justify bad actions: mill belives Bentham was only concerned with maximixing pleasure in general, but this could justify bad actions 
  • act utilitarianism is overly complex: applying the hedonic calculus to moral dilemmas can be complex
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Mills update

Higher and lower pleasures 

  • john Stuart mill believed that it is beter being unhappy than being happy because of something distasteful e.g. drunkenes, therefore pleasure should not be measured by the quanitty but by the quality 
  • higher pleasure = pleasures of the mind e.g. learning 
  • lower pleasure  = pleasures of the body e.g. sex 

harm principle 

  • individuals should have the liberty to do what they like, particularly when trying to create pleasure, he was also ware that collective happiness was just as important so we should create happiness as long as it doesnt harm others 
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Rule utilitarianism

  • He believed that there are deontological rules that can create happiness 
  • these rules would be obvious due to humanity's experience 
  • rule utilitarianism wold judge good and bad as good/right (following a deontological rule) and bad/wrong (breaking a deontological rule)
  • strong rule utilitarianism = following the rules all the time
  • weak rule utilitarianism = following the rul that is known to create the biggest gap between pleasure and pain 
  • rule utilitarianism is deontological (has rules) and teleogical (creating the postive outcome)
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