0

I recently answered this question on the ethical duty to help educate others, where I wrote:

I feel like if a person increases "happiness" more in his life then he decreases the "happiness" then a person is moral. If a person helps only 1 person in his life but doesn't harm anybody then he is moral. He is not required to help everybody he can. He doesn't need to send aid to third world countries nor is it his duty to educate people that are of lower intelligence or knowledge. He definitely may and that will make his behavior even better but it doesn't mean that if they don't they are immoral. In such philosophy it's not a person's duty to help others.

After answering the question, I realized I do not know what I would call the moral philosophy which I follow. I wonder if there are any similar philosophies which follow similar moral code. Unlike utilitarianism I do not think everyone has a duty to maximize happiness. Simply, people have a duty to increase happiness more then they decrease it in order to remain moral.

Is this still a form of utilitarianism? Is there any other philosophy that agrees with my statement?

Update: I forgot to mention that I also dont believe that ones morality should definitely be judged by their actions but by their moral code. (so if you kill someone by mistake it doesnt mean you are immoral) I dont know how it is with Utilitarianism.

"...optimizing net happiness is not mandatory, but that one is obligated to make a positive contribution to net happiness." – Niel de Beaudrap

  • 1
    "increase happiness more then they decrease it" - do you mean the word 'then to mean more relative to the amount that one decreases happiness? or that people increase happiness at one point, and then later decrease it to become moral? – Dr Sister Aug 12 '12 at 16:26
  • 1
    I think it's fairly clear that he means that optimizing net happiness is not mandatory, but that one is obligated to make a positive contribution to net happiness. – Niel de Beaudrap Aug 12 '12 at 16:41
  • 1
    I don't see how a person who performs one more act with positive consequences as acts with negative consequences can be proclaimed "morally good" (also referring to your answer to the other question). That's why I'd say, as long as you don't defend your position, that it's not a moral position (or, as you said, "moral philosophy" at all. – iphigenie Aug 13 '12 at 21:34
  • Im not here to start a discussion whether it is morally good. It is my moral philosophy and I wonder what is the closest known philosophy to it. Egotism is a moral philosophy as well (look it up) but its not moral in my opinion at all. I also dont think a person that preforms one more moral action is moral but a person that preforms at least one more moral action of the same degree as bad action. So if you kill a person and save 2 you are a moral person in my book. – Xitcod13 Aug 13 '12 at 21:41
  • 1
    In general, can you include the jist of the answer you wrote in the previous question in the body of the question? It helps improve readability of questions, especially if the externally referenced item is from another site (and potentially might be lost in the future). :) – stoicfury Aug 14 '12 at 3:32
3

Unlike utilitarianism I do not think everyone has a duty to maximize happiness. Simply, people have a duty to increase happiness more then they decrease it in order to remain moral.

Your position is still essentially a weak utilitarian position if the only consideration of a particular action (or set of actions in ones life) is the moral "goodness" it provides overall (i.e., you seem to value "net utility"). It's seems somewhat like Preference utilitarianism.

There are many other forms of utilitarianism as well; you can read more about some of the more prominent ones here.

0

Your ethics is an inchoate version of Ayn Rand's normative ethics, virtuous egoism. Essentially, the good is that which promotes one's own flourishing, a concept not very different from eudaimonia.

In Rand's ethical theory though, accomplishing the good is through the practice of 7 primary virtues. A great introduction can be found here. A scholarly review is here:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.