Williams (criticism of utilitarianism) Utilitarianism or consequentialism assigns ultimate value to states of affairs. What matters about a particular action is what comes about if it is done or not done; details about the casual links do not matter. This feature leads to: Negative responsibility: one is just as responsible for the things one allows or fails to prevent, as for things one brings about directly. Study pages 2+4 and 3+5 He wants people to choose the path that results in the most pleasure/happiness, but you are still accountable for the path that you didn?t choose. These are called casual chains. Your own actions affect everyone around you. ?To thus make each individual agent a channel between the input of everyone?s projects, including her/his own, and an output of optimific decision is to alienate each from her/his own actions and projects and is this an attack on one?s integrity as a moral agent. (In seeing one?s own actions and projects as on a par with all others in this way one gives up any normal connection of tie to then as one?s own.)? Page 116 Some desires are not just desires or pleasures but some are to life commitment. For example, people?s attachment to their children. Or like in the story of George the Chemist, he has his own political view. He would be very unhappy if he had to take the job that he thinks is a wicked project. Williams suggests that that?s not how it goes, he thinks George?s discomfort with the job is a good enough reason not to do it. Jim?s story when he meets Pedro. If all you think about is 1 person vs 20 people dead then it doesn?t matter who it is. William suggests that it doesn?t make any difference that he?s the one who does the killing. A utilitarian would suggest that it makes no difference who kills. If the situation was that if you didn?t kill one person then that person would kill someone else. So the consequences are equal. A utilitarian would say that because the results are equal then you might as well just flip a coin, even if you don?t want to kill.
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