Utility – Jeremy Bentham
The purpose of morality is to maximize happiness
We are the subject of two sovereigns: pain and pleasure and justice should try to maximize one and minimize the other for the collective
Pleasure can be measured by utility – a measure of pleasure
Advantages: everyone’s preferences count equally
Problems: individual rights – throwing Christians to the lions, the miserable child in the glorious city
Radical redistribution of wealth
Liberty – Hayek, Friedman with a dash of Mill
We own ourselves – hence no paternalism, no morals legislation, no redistribution of wealth
Decision making is voluntary – Bill Gates is rich because people voluntarily gave him money
Problem: Is everything for sale? The military draft, organs
Motive – Immanuel Kant
Morality is not a function of result (utilitarianism) but of motive – doing right for the right reason
Not because it is pleasurable, useful or convenient
So what does that mean?
Mortality: duty v inclination
Are you doing it because you want praise or because it’s right?
Freedom: autonomy v heteronomy
Is this something we want to do or something we have been told to do?
Reason: categorical v hypothetical imperatives
Is the reason you are doing something unconditional (categorical) or because you want some sort of outcome?
Categorical Imperative I: Universability maxim: it can only be just if we can universalize that action (everyone does it) for the good
Categorical imperative II: persons as ends: people must be the ends not the means of whatever you are doing
Veil of ignorance – John Rawls
The veil of ignorance Imagines that you don’t know your race, education, income, or gender – so what kind of social contract would you create?
Accomplishment in a feudal or capitalistic society is not a function of merit but a luck of birth, skill or ability that the society values at this moment
But differences are going to happen – so the “difference principle” says that we can be rewarded disproportionally if that somehow benefits the least among us
Purpose and reward – Aristotle
Justice is measured by what is teleological (the purpose, end, or essential nature of the social practice in question)
The best flutes should go to the best flute player, the highest government position to the most civically virtuous
Government should produce a people pursuing a good life
Justice is measured by what is honorific (what should we honor and reward)
Law should encourage the practice of moral behavior (to be surrounded by virtues acts encourages virtuous feelings)