Lecture 12 - Utilitarianism and its Critiques

author: Tamar Gendler, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Feb. 19, 2014,   recorded: March 2011,   views: 2305
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

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.

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Maureen Tejeda, April 2, 2016 at 5:52 p.m.:

Fascinating. Profesor Gendler has the quality of speaking about a rather deep subject which allows us, the listeners, to bcome excited when we have suddenly realized how logical a previously difficult concept has become.

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