Überraschende Thesen des klassischen Utilitarismus: Henry Sidgwicks vernachlässigte Vollendung der klassischen britischen Moralphilosophie

Annette Dufner
Universität Bonn
This paper argues that Henry Sidgwick's theory of the good is a form of enlightened preference hedonism. In order to support this conclusion, the paper argues that the correct interpretation of his notorious passage about the 'ideal element' of the good should get tied to his views about weakness of the will. Sidgwick believes that reaching your own good requires overcoming weakness of the will. An applied section illustrates the practical significance of this finding. In cases in which shooting down a passenger plane can save a greater number of people on the ground, and no other relevant considerations apply, the passengers should desire their own destruction-not only to promote the general good, but also in order to reach the only good they can still secure for themselves: giving their inevitable deaths a positive meaning. This utilitarian position regarding some one-versusthe-many cases has been overlooked in the German Supreme Court ruling on the destruction of 9/11 airplanes in 2006
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