Talk:Felicific calculus

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Ethics

misc. discussion[edit]

Thus it be moral to torture one person if this would produce an amount of happiness in other people outweighing the unhappiness of the tortured individual.

Moved to entry on Bentham. Sir Paul 07:08, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)

Can you explain why you have moved that part? From what I know of the subject (my knowledge admittedly being rather scant), the lack of "fairness" (of which the above is a good example) was one of the major problems of utilitarianism. Significant enough, infact, that JS Mill presented a modified utilitarianism which included some criterion of fairness in addition to felicity. - snoyes 07:39, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Oh, BTW - the additions you have made to the article are excellent. Keep up the good work. :) - snoyes 07:41, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I moved the entry precisely because of the issues you raise: the problem of fairness is not a problem of the Felicific Calculus, but one of the classical Benthamite doctrine. Even if you reject the idea of a mechanical way to estimate the goodness of a state of affairs or the rightness of an act (and thus cast doubt on the plausibility of the Felicific Calculus), it is still problematic (for some at least) that it could be the case that the theory condones sacrificing some to benefit others.

Thanks for the kind words :) Sir Paul 14:08, Feb 18, 2004 (UTC)

You're right. I didn't see the forrest for the trees. - snoyes 16:32, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

At least you kept my example!! :-) - Vanguard 21:49, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think that the factor of fairness should also be taken account in the calculus. If the tortured person knows he is not treated fair (e.g. why not another person receives the torture to make me happy), his unhappiness will be greatly increased and hence you need far more people to receive the happiness somehow due to his being tortured. On the other hand, if the person being tortured knows he is doing good to so many people, he may feel less pain. In all, the calculus should still be valid. - Boris --68.40.56.32 09:08, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Interesting[edit]

A very interesting article, especially the example at the end. When I thought about this case I clearly followed exactly the same reasoning but in a purely intuitive way. I think we all are wired (or programmed) to perform similar calculations; it is a known fact that kids receive generally more attention at hospitals and generally in society than the elderly.

The example I wrote was actually from an Ethics lesson we did at college, where we had to apply it to a real world situation. It works extremely well I think :D --Vanguard 11:57, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hedonic Calculus[edit]

Can I just confirm these are the same thing, just different names, yes? Otherwise, I'm so very confused. - sars 22:38, Feb 3, 2005 (UTC)

Copying error?[edit]

The third step of this so-called algorithm reads rather strange to me. Can anyone check whether the string "with respect to each individual, in regard to whom the tendency of it is good upon the whole: do this again" should really appear twice in a row?

Utility Calculus not only to do with ethics[edit]

I'm sorry, but the utility calculus is not merely a tools for utilitarian moral theorists. It is also part of probabilistic/inductive logic, game theory, and economic theory. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility#Utility_functions The redirect from utility calculus to felicific calculs seems like a really bad idea to me. The felicific calculus is a subset of utility calculi at best, thus the redirect should go the other way around. --207.112.45.58 04:49, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Citations for Bentham's instructions[edit]

Just to say that Bentham's instructions for felicific calculus can be found in his "Principles of Morals and Legislations", an electronic copy of which is available at http://www.constitution.org/jb/pml.htm (specifically http://www.constitution.org/jb/pml_04.htm)

I'd add the cites myself, but...well, to be honest it's Friday night and I can't be bothered :D

Cynical Jawa 21:52, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

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