PHIL 181 - Lecture 12 - Utilitarianism and its Critiques

Lecture 12 - Utilitarianism and its Critiques

Overview

Professor Gendler begins with a general introduction to moral theories–what are they and what questions do they answer? Three different moral theories are briefly sketched: virtue theories, deontological theories, and consequentialist theories. Professor Gendler introduces at greater length a particular form of consequentialism—utilitarianism—put forward by John Stuart Mill. A dilemma is posed which appears to challenge Mill’s Greatest Happiness Principle: is it morally right for many to live happily at the cost of one person’s suffering? This dilemma is illustrated via a short story by Ursula Le Guin, and parallels are drawn between the story and various contemporary scenarios.

Resources

Assignment

Gendler, The Elements of Philosophy, “Introduction: Moral Philosophy” (pp. 71-75)

Gendler, The Elements of Philosophy, Selections from Utilitarianism (pp. 77-85)

Gendler, The Elements of Philosophy, Williams's “Utilitarianism, Integrity and  Responsibility” (pp. 96-105)

LeGuin, “The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas”

Course Media

Transcript

html

Audio

mp3

Low Bandwidth Video

mov [100MB]

High Bandwidth Video

mov [500MB]