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Lecture 12 - Utilitarianism and its Critiques

Lecture 12 - Utilitarianism and its Critiques

This video was recorded at PHIL 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature. 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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