The author said that the right actions are those that produce the greatest possible balance of happiness over unhappiness.
Is happiness the only thing that matters? This is the one of the questions asked in this chapter. Right actions are the ones that produce the most good. But then again this chapter asks what is good? The classical utilitarian reply is: one thing and one thing only, happiness. The idea that happiness is the one ultimate good is knows as Hedonism. It has always been an attractive theory because of its beautiful simplicity, and because it expresses the intuitively plausible notion that things are good or bad only on account of the way they makes us feel.
This chapter mentioned also that Hedonism misunderstands the nature of happiness. Happiness is said that is not recognized as good. Instead, happiness is said to be a response of what we have to the attainment of things.
Utilitarianism says that actions are defensible if they produce a favourable balance of happiness over unhappiness. Utilitarianism is said to be in some form, true.
This chapter mentioned something about the line of defense. The first line of defense is pointing out that the examples used in antiutilitarian arguments are unrealistic and do not describe situations that come up in the real world. The second line of defense talks about how utilitarian comes into conflict with common sense. The second line of defense points out all this and proposes to save utilitarianism by giving it a new formulation. The last line of defense, the author said that admittedly utilitarianism does have consequences which are incompatible with the common moral consciousness. Our moral common sense is after all not necessarily reliable.
Act-utilitarianism is a perfectly defensible doctrine and does not need to be modified. Rule-utilitarianism, by contrast, is an unnecessarily watered-down version of the theory, which gives rules a greater importance that they merit.
The author said that if he is asked what he means by different quality in pleasures, or what makes one pleasure more valuable than another, except its being greater in amount. There is but one possible he said. Of there be one to which all or almost all who have irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure.
The author said something according to the Greatest Happiness Principle, the ultimate end, with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable, is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality; the test of quality, and the rule for measuring it against quantity being the preference felt by those who in their opportunities experience to which must be added their habits of self-consciousness and self-observation.
He also said that to do as you would be done by and to love your neighbor as yourself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality. As the means of making the nearest approach to this ideal, utility would enjoin, first, that laws and social arrangements should place the happiness or the interest, of every individual, as nearly as possible in harmony with the interest of the whole
The author did mention also that what was once desired as an instrument for the attainment of happiness has come to be desired for its own sake. Being desired for its own sake it is, desired as part of happiness. The person is made, or thinks he would be made, happy by its mere possession and is made unhappy by failure to obtain it.
Virtue according to the utilitarian conception is a good of this description. The utilitarian standard tolerates and approves those other acquired desires, up to the point beyond which they would be more injurious to the general happiness than promotive of it.
The authors own impression is that she believes that outsiders can in principle deliver perfectly good indictments. She mentioned something about how moral isolationism forbids us to form any opinions on these matters. Its ground for doing so is that we don’t understand them. Our efforts to do so will be much damaged if we are really deprived of our opinions about other societies, because these provide the range of comparison, the spectrum of alternatives against which we set what we want to understand.
Moral isolationism would lay down a general ban on moral reasoning. This is the programme of immoralism and it carries a distressing logical difficulty. The author mentioned also that, immoralists like Niewtzsche are actually just a rather specialized sect of moralist. They cannot afford to put moralizing out of business than smugglers can afford to abolish customer regulations. The power of moral judgement for Mary is in fact not a luxury not a perverse indulgence of the self-righteous. It is said to be a necessity.
Real moral scepticism is said that can lead only to inaction. Isolating barriers simply cannot arise here. The author also said that if we accept something as a serious moral truth about one culture, we can’t refuse to apply it. However, to other cultures as well, wherever circumstance admit it. If we refuse to do this, we just are not taking the other culture seriously.
The universal predicament has been obscured by the fact that anthropologists used to concentrate largely on very small and remote cultures, which did not seem to have this problem. The author mentioned also that if there were really an isolating barrier our own culture could never have been formed. The moral isolationist’s picture of separate, unmixable cultures is quite unreal.
Friedrich Nietzsche mentioned that the essential thing in a good and healthy aristocracy is that it should not regard itself as a function either of the kingship or the commonwealth but as the significance and the highest justification that it should accept with a good conscience. Its fundamental belief must be precisely that society is not allowed to exist for its own sake but only as a foundation and scaffolding be means of which a select class of beings may be able to elevate themselves to their higher duties and in general to a higher existence. One is said to think profoundly to the very basis and resist all sentimental weakness: life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, and conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusions of peculiar forms, incorporation and at the least putting it mildest exploitation. It is obvious that everywhere the designations of moral value were at first applied to men, and were only derivatively and at a later period applied to actions.
Slave morality is essentially the morality of utility. Here is the seat of the origin of the famous antithesis “good” and “evil”. It is an additional instance of his egoism, this artfulness and self-limitation in intercourse with his equals every star is a similar egoist. He honours himself in them and in the rights which he concedes to them he has no doubt that the exchange of honours and rights.
It was mentioned in this chapter that, religion is often said necessary so that people will do right. Therefore it is said to be necessary because it provides motivation to do the right thing. It was also mentioned in this chapter that if we are to use revelation as a moral guide, we must know first what is to count as revelation. God made us and the entire world. Because of that he has an absolute claim on our obedience.
It was also stated in this chapter that many philosophers have felt that morality rests on its own perfectly sound footing, be it reason, human nature or natural sentiments. The divine command theory faces other problems as well. Morality is said to be influenced by religion. The author also mentioned that morality is social. It governs relationships among people, defining our responsibilities to others and theirs to us. Morality is said to provide standards that we rely in gauging interactions with our family, lovers, friends, fellow citizens and even strangers. Also, it was mentioned in this chapter that, morality is indeed social since we are subject to criticism by others for our actions. We discuss with the people around us what we should do and hear from them if our decisions are acceptable. Blame and praise are central feature of morality.
The author mentioned in this chapter that morality is inherently social. It depends on socially learned language. It is learned from interactions with others and governs interactions with others in society. God might play a role in moral reflection and conscience. For the religious person, conscience would almost certainly include the imagined reaction of God along with the reactions of others who might be affected by the action. For a religious person, morality and God’s will cannot be separated.
It was mentioned in this chapter that, our ordinary thinking about morality is full of assumptions that we almost never question. There are these sceptical views that were suggested by Glaucon that have come to be knows as psychological egoism and ethical egoism. Psychological egoism, as mentioned in this chapter, is the view that all men are selfish in everything that they do, that the only motive that anyone ever act is self-interest. Glaucon’s point here is that even if people act the way that benefits others, people are motivated to do that because of the belief that if they act this way it will be for their own advantage. In contrast, Ethical egoism is a normative view about how men ought to act. It was stated in this chapter that, regardless of how men behave, they have no obligation to do anything except what is in their own interests.
The author, James Rachels, mentioned also about the confusion of selfishness with self-interests. The author said that it is not the same. He also mentioned that, selfish behavior is a behavior that ignores the interests of others. Also, the author mentioned about the fallacy regarding every action done is either from self-interest or from other-regarding motives. In example that he gave, he said that a man who continues to smoke cigarettes even after knowing the connection of cigars with cancer, is said that he’s not acting from self-interest. Self-interest would dictate that he quit smoking. He continues smoking because of the pleasure of it. The author said that what the man shows us is the undisciplined pleasure-seeking.