Philosopher Jeremy Bentham focused on happiness. The maximum amount of happiness for the most people. It is this that drove his version of utilitarianism. Being that we ought to consider only the consequences of an act in order to determine its goodness, Bentham equated that goodness with happiness and a minimization of pain. John Stuart Mill stepped in to carry Bentham’s torch 1861 work ‘Utilitarianism’.

Virtue Ethics

For a person who follows virtue ethics it is their goal to identify, develop, and achieve desirable virtues. Anything less would translate to a less virtuous life and a loss of potential.

Deontology with Hobbes, Locke, and Kant

In our pursuit of what we ought to do when faced with any particular situation we started off with Normative ethics. Particular the category of Normative ethics knows as Deontology. In the last episode we were introduced to the Divine Command Theory, a flavor of Deontology that looks towards God for the answer. Today we are going to take a slightly different approach and ask Hobbes, Locke, and Kant what they think we should do.

Deontology and Divine Command Theory

Looking towards God for the answer as to what we should or should not do is a form of deontology called ‘Divine Command Theory’. This idea that God’s commands provides us with a moral compass has attracted the attention of some big names in philosophy. Rene Descartes is one such adherent, as is William of Ockham – the man credited with creating Ockham’s Razor.

Backward Causality

As far back as we can go, our beliefs have always been based on one simple maxim. If this then that. As much as we want to… we can’t change the past. So why fret about? Life is all about cause and effect. Could it be that what we perceive as a universe based on causality is just an illusion? With a little help from physics we may have a clue to solving this very question and it isn’t what you’d expect.

Aesthetically Speaking

Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that asks the hard questions when it comes to art. Not only what art is, but also why we find certain things beautiful? Are judgements about art objective or subjective statements? Can those statements or judgements be modified with training, education, or experience? Or does the appreciation of art speak to our cultural values?