Lord of the Flies: Philosophies of good and evil Four Philosophers’ Theories: Bentham, Rousseau, Locke, and Hobbes Jeremy Bentham: Utilitarianism 18th century British writer, reformer, and philosopher whose systematic analysis of law and legislation laid the foundations of utilitarianism: the ethical doctrine that virtue is based on utility, and that conduct should be directed toward promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest number of persons. Jeremy Bentham: Utilitarianism • Actions are to be judged based solely on their consequences. One is good or bad depending upon the consequences received as a result. Therefore: if someone steals something, and no one misses it, it is not wrong to steal it. Both are happy – no harm is perceived John Locke: “Tabula Rasa” • 17 century - Britain • Tabula Rasa - a mind not yet affected by experiences or impressions. Anything existing undisturbed in its original pure state. John Locke: “Tabula Rasa” • Children are born as a “tabula rasa” or a blank slate. Society imprints either goodness or badness upon the child as they grow and mature. • Nature vs. Nurture theory (pro-nurture) • Therefore: if a child is taught right from wrong, proper manners, social decorum, the child will naturally display these behaviors. Jean Jacques Rousseau 18th century – Swiss philosopher and writer Romantic Movement: the late 18th- and early 19th-century movement in France, Germany, England, and America to establish Romanticism in art and literature. His written works include The Social Contract and Émile Jean Jacques Rousseau • In one’s pure natural state, people are good. Social institutions are responsible for the corruption of people. • Therefore: if left to one’s own wits to learn and thrive, one will be good and pure in thought and deed. If molded by society’s notions of decorum, one will be corrupt, and therefore evil in thought and deed. Thomas Hobbes 17th century – Britain. Hobbes’s views on power, conflict, sovereignty and religion are articulated in his political works (The Elements of Law, De cive, Leviathan and Behemoth) Thomas Hobbes • Man’s nature is basically bad or evil • Government’s laws and society’s rules are necessary to keep people from lapsing into a savage existence. • Therefore: if one was not forced to live by the rules and laws of a society, one would lapse into a state of immorality and savagery.