Free Dickens Hard Times Essays and Papers - 123HelpMe
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Rule utilitarianism faces several potential counterexamples (such aswhether public rules allowing slavery could sometimes maximize utility)and needs to be formulated more precisely (particularly in order toavoid collapsing into act-utilitarianism; cf. Lyons 1965). Suchdetails are discussed in another entry in this encyclopedia (seeHooker on rule-consequentialism). Here I just want to point out thatdirect consequentialists find it weird to judge a particular act bythe consequences of something else (Smart 1956). Why should mistakesby other doctors in other cases make this doctor's act morally wrong,when this doctor knows for sure that he is not mistaken in this case?Rule consequentialists can respond that we should not claim specialrights or permissions that we are not willing to grant to every otherperson, and that it is arrogant to think we are less prone to mistakesthan other people are. However, this doctor can reply that he iswilling to give everyone the right to violate the usual rules in therare cases when they do know for sure that violating those rulesreally maximizes utility. Anyway, even if rule utilitarianism accordswith some common substantive moral intuitions, it still seemscounterintuitive in other ways. This makes it worthwhile to considerhow direct consequentialists can bring their views in line with commonmoral intuitions, and whether they need to do so.
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So Mill rejects the substantive doctrines of psychological egoismand hedonism that Bentham and his father sometimes defended orsuggested. This is really part of a larger criticism of the conceptionof psychology and human nature underlying Benthamite utilitarianism,which Mill elaborates in his essays on Bentham. Mill's desire todistance himself from Benthamite assumptions about human nature andpsychology are also reflected in his conception of happiness and hisdoctrine of higher pleasures.