Here’s a sheet of the SQA’s prescribed readings on Bentham and Mill’s Utilitarianism. The Other readings are available elsewhere on the site. Click below to download (an annotated version will be available much nearer to the exam so check back).
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Answer the following questions in your notes. Leave space for corrections.
1 What are the two components of Utilitarianism described here?
2 What does hedonistic mean (look this up, a precise definition is important)?
3 How does Bentham understand happiness & unhappiness? Where does Roger Crisp suggest this idea comes from?
4 How did Bentham calculate pleasure?
5 What does RC say is different about Mill and how does this affect his philosophy? Mention Wordsworth.
6 Try and come up with a contemporary analogy to replace Socrates and the pig.
i. What is this analogy a reaction against in Mill?
ii. Think carefully about the notion Mill is suggesting. Do you agree? Give (real life) reasons.
7 What are Higher and Lower Order Pleasures? What’s the difference?
8 Do you agree with NW that human sexual pleasures should be classed as lower order? Keywords: rape, kissing, procreation, animal +.
9 Is Mill still a hedonist?
10 Think about what is meant by the phrase ‘partiality to the self’. Can you think of any traditions you have studied previously that this sits particularly well with/sits is direct contrasts to?
11 Why is utilitarianism so hard to criticise?
12 How does Peter Singer develop the utilitarian principle? Find out a little about him (when, what, where etc.).