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Consequentialism and Friendship

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Natalie Ashton

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Consequentialism and Friendship

Consequentialism and Friendship
Natalie Ashton




What is Consequentialism?

Understanding the objection

Moral Rightness

Is Consequentialism too demanding?
John, on being a model husband:

''I've always thought that people should help each other when they're in a specially good position to do so. I know Anne better than anyone else does, so I know better what she wants and needs.

Besides, I have such affection for her that it's no great burden-instead, I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. Just think how awful marriage would be, or life itself, if people didn't take special care of the ones they love.""
How would you feel if your partner or friend reasoned like this?
The solution:
Is consequentialism compatible with friendship?
His view is very impersonal.
John's response shows that he is alienated...
Morality should not 'split our psyche'
it should reflect how valuable relationships are.
Is it just a fact about morality that we have to remain impartial?
The Paradox of Hedonism
Aiming for maximal happiness might preclude important types of happiness.
...a bit like how trying to go to sleep can keep you awake.
So, to apply hedonism to your life, you must not be a hedonist!
Aiming to fall asleep
aiming to do what will make you fall asleep
The (analogous)
Subjective Hedonism:
Objective Hedonism:
Sophisticated Hedonism:

act such that you in fact maximise good.

Subjective Consequentialism:
Objective Consequentialism:
Sophisticated Consequentialism:
The Solution*
*Railton advocates non-utilitarian consequentialism, with a pluralistic value theory
A Classic Dilemma

Or a mosquito net for a family in Tanzania?
A present for your friend?

Consequentialism asks us to abandon our 'projects' whenever our resources would be better spent elsewhere.

Our projects provide ''one set of satisfactions among those which he may be able to assist from where he happens to be"
1: Threat to Subjective Integrity
3 Interpretations
Utilitarianism upsets this balance.
of morality
What's the alternative?
We could hold our moral self-conception fixed, and build a theory of morality around it.
But this seems wrong...
...eg. slavery.
The requirements of our moral theory should have an effect on our MSC.
2: Threat to Objective Integrity
View of morality
Moral self-conception
Anna's 3 Lives

Utilitarianism recommends the third, so anyone who 'merely' lives life B is immoral!
Acknowledges that this is a result of utilitarianism.
...denies that it is UNIQUE to utilitarianism.
3: Threat to Friendship
Impartiality = equality
View our friendships as less important?
View our obligations to strangers as more important.
A lot of significance on friendship
This informs how we should act towards strangers
adopt the hedonistic view each time you act.
act such that you in fact maximise happiness.
adopt objective hedonism as your aim.
use the consequentialist formula each time you act.
adopt objective consequentialism as your aim.
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