1.Characterize simple utilitarianism. How do egoism and hedonism figure into this philosophy? Explain.
2.What is the hedonic calculus? Apply it to a real-life case, and assess its strengths and weaknesses.
3.Discuss the “egoistic hook” that Bentham discovered and explain its significance to his philosophy.
4.Compare and contrast refined utilitarianism and simple utilitarianism.
5.In your own words, present Mill’s basic argument for qualitative differences among pleasures. Then analyze it.
Think carefully about Malthus’s arguments. Can you think of any current evidence to support Malthus’s view? Can you think of any evidence against it? (page 347)
Can you identify any pleasures “which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, even though knowing it to be attended with a greater amount of discontent, and would not resign it for any quantity of the other pleasures which their nature is capable of”? (page 357)
What would we make of someone who did choose ignorance? Could such a person be sane and rational? Reflect on the following: To be considered sane and rational, a person must recognize the value of both sanity and reason. If so, then by definition no sane or rational person can choose a radical diminishment of an essential capacity such as knowledge. What do you think of this argument? (page 359)
Identify and discuss one or two current issues in which this kind of utilitarian appeal to altruism through self-interest might be effective. Explain your reasoning, and discuss some of the details involved in implementing your suggestions. (page 363)