Moral Theory • An explanation of why an action is right or wrong or why a person or a person’s character is good or bad • Tells us what it is about an action that makes it right Moral Theory • Consequentialist theory—Asserts that the rightness of actions depends solely on their consequences • Deontological theory—Asserts that the rightness of actions is determined partly or entirely by their intrinsic value Utilitarianism The view that right actions are those that result in the most beneficial balance of good over bad consequences for everyone involved Utilitarianism • Act-utilitarianism—The rightness of actions depends solely on the relative good produced by individual actions • Rule-utilitarianism—A right action is one that conforms to a rule that, if followed consistently, would create for everyone involved the most beneficial balance of good over bad Utilitarianism Classical Utilitarianism—Jeremy Bentham Utilitarianism Refined—John Stuart Mill • Mill thinks that some kinds of pleasures are more valuable than others. • Bentham insists that pleasures should be measured by their quantity, not quality. • Mill declares that it is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. Utilitarianism A Defense of Utilitarianism—Kai Nielsen • The moral worth of an action is determined by its consequences. • We are responsible not only for the consequences of our actions, but also for the consequences of our nonactions. Utilitarianism Against Utilitarianism—Bernard Williams • Utilitarianism is a bad moral theory. • Utilitarianism makes unintelligible our integrity. • Utilitarianism involves the notion of negative responsibility. Utilitarianism The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas— Ursula Le Guin • Le Guin offers a critical portrait of utilitarianism. • Would you walk away from Omelas? Utilitarianism The Utilitarian Social Engineer and the Savage— Aldous Huxley • Huxley contrasts freedom and high culture with happiness. • Is the truth in the middle, as Huxley implies—between complete, unregulated freedom of will and social stability wherein we can find happiness?