Utilitarianism is a family of consequentialist ethical theories. Although different varieties of utilitarianism admit different characterizations, the basic idea behind all of them is to in some sense maximize utility, defined in terms of well-being or related concepts. For instance, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, pleasure, good, or happiness... to prevent the happening of mischief, evil, or unhappiness to the party whose interest is considered. Utilitarianism is a version of consequentialism, which states that the consequences of any action are the only standard of right and wrong. Unlike other forms of consequentialism, such as egoism and altruism, utilitarianism considers the interests of all beings equally. Proponents of utilitarianism have disagreed on a number of points, such as whether actions should be chosen based on their results or whether agents should conform to rules that maximize utility.
There is disagreement as to whether total, average or minimum utility should be maximized. Though the seeds of the theory can be found in the hedonists Aristippus and Epicurus, who viewed happiness as the only good, the tradition of utilitarianism properly began with Bentham, has included John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, R. M. Hare, David Braybrooke, Peter Singer, it has been applied to social welfare economics, the crisis of global poverty, the ethics of raising animals for food and the importance of avoiding existential risks to humanity. Benthamism, the utilitarian philosophy founded by Jeremy Bentham, was modified by his successor John Stuart Mill, who popularized the word'Utilitarianism'. In 1861, Mill acknowledged in a footnote that, though "believing himself to be the first person who brought the word'utilitarian' into use, he did not invent it. Rather, he adopted it from a passing expression in" John Galt's 1821 novel Annals of the Parish. Mill seems to have been unaware that Bentham had used the term'utilitarian' in his 1781 letter to George Wilson and his 1802 letter to Étienne Dumont.
The importance of happiness as an end for humans has long been recognized. Forms of hedonism were put forward by Epicurus. Happiness was explored in depth by Aquinas. Different varieties of consequentialism existed in the ancient and medieval world, like the state consequentialism of Mohism or the political philosophy of Niccolò Machiavelli. Mohist consequentialism advocated communitarian moral goods including political stability, population growth, wealth, but did not support the utilitarian notion of maximizing individual happiness. Utilitarianism as a distinct ethical position only emerged in the eighteenth century. Although utilitarianism is thought to start with Jeremy Bentham, there were earlier writers who presented theories that were strikingly similar. In An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, David Hume writes: In all determinations of morality, this circumstance of public utility is principally in view. If any false opinion, embraced from appearances, has been found to prevail.
Hume studied the works of, corresponded with, Francis Hutcheson, it was he who first introduced a key utilitarian phrase. In An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, Hutcheson says when choosing the most moral action, virtue is in proportion to the number of people a particular action brings happiness to. In the same way, moral evil, or vice, is proportionate to the number of people made to suffer; the best action is the one that procures the greatest happiness of the greatest numbers—and the worst is the one that causes the most misery. In the first three editions of the book, Hutcheson included various mathematical algorithms "...to compute the Morality of any Actions." In this, he pre-figured the hedonic calculus of Bentham. Some claim. In Concerning the Fundamental Principle of Virtue or Morality, Gay argues that: happiness, private happiness, is the proper or ultimate end of all our actions… each particular action may be said to have its proper and peculiar end……, they still ought to tend to something farther.
To ask why I pursue happiness, will admit of no other answer than an explanation of the terms. This pursuit of happiness is given a theological basis: Now it is evident from the nature of God, viz. his being infinitely happy in himself from all eternity, from his goodness manifested in his works, that he could have no other design in creating mankind than their happiness.
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and relationship of the mind to the body. The mind–body problem is a paradigm issue in philosophy of mind, although other issues are addressed, such as the hard problem of consciousness, the nature of particular mental states. Aspects of the mind that are studied include mental events, mental functions, mental properties, the ontology of the mind, the nature of thought, the relationship of the mind to the body. Dualism and monism are the two central schools of thought on the mind–body problem, although nuanced views have arisen that do not fit one or the other category neatly. Dualism finds its entry into Western philosophy thanks to René Descartes in the 17th century. Substance dualists like Descartes argue that the mind is an independently existing substance, whereas property dualists maintain that the mind is a group of independent properties that emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct substance.
Monism is the position that body are not ontologically distinct entities. This view was first advocated in Western philosophy by Parmenides in the 5th century BCE and was espoused by the 17th-century rationalist Baruch Spinoza. Physicalists argue that only entities postulated by physical theory exist, that mental processes will be explained in terms of these entities as physical theory continues to evolve. Physicalists maintain various positions on the prospects of reducing mental properties to physical properties, the ontological status of such mental properties remains unclear. Idealists maintain that the mind is all that exists and that the external world is either mental itself, or an illusion created by the mind. Neutral monists such as Ernst Mach and William James argue that events in the world can be thought of as either mental or physical depending on the network of relationships into which they enter, dual-aspect monists such as Spinoza adhere to the position that there is some other, neutral substance, that both matter and mind are properties of this unknown substance.
The most common monisms in the 20th and 21st centuries have all been variations of physicalism. Most modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive physicalist or non-reductive physicalist position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body; these approaches have been influential in the sciences in the fields of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences. Reductive physicalists assert that all mental states and properties will be explained by scientific accounts of physiological processes and states. Non-reductive physicalists argue that although the mind is not a separate substance, mental properties supervene on physical properties, or that the predicates and vocabulary used in mental descriptions and explanations are indispensable, cannot be reduced to the language and lower-level explanations of physical science. Continued neuroscientific progress has helped to clarify some of these issues. Modern philosophers of mind continue to ask how the subjective qualities and the intentionality of mental states and properties can be explained in naturalistic terms.
The mind–body problem concerns the explanation of the relationship that exists between minds, or mental processes, bodily states or processes. The main aim of philosophers working in this area is to determine the nature of the mind and mental states/processes, how—or if—minds are affected by and can affect the body. Our perceptual experiences depend on stimuli that arrive at our various sensory organs from the external world, these stimuli cause changes in our mental states causing us to feel a sensation, which may be pleasant or unpleasant. Someone's desire for a slice of pizza, for example, will tend to cause that person to move his or her body in a specific manner and in a specific direction to obtain what he or she wants; the question is how it can be possible for conscious experiences to arise out of a lump of gray matter endowed with nothing but electrochemical properties. A related problem is how someone's propositional attitudes cause that individual's neurons to fire and muscles to contract.
These comprise some of the puzzles that have confronted epistemologists and philosophers of mind from at least the time of René Descartes. Dualism is a set of views about the relationship between matter, it begins with the claim. One of the earliest known formulations of mind–body dualism was expressed in the eastern Sankhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy, which divided the world into purusha and prakriti; the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali presents an analytical approach to the nature of the mind. In Western Philosophy, the earliest discussions of dualist ideas are in the writings of Plato who maintained that humans' "intelligence" could not be identified with, or explained in terms of, their physical body. However, the best-known version of dualism is due to René Descartes, holds that the mind is a non-extended, non-physical substance, a "res cogitans". Descartes was the first to identify the mind with consciousness and self-awareness, to distinguish this from the brain, the seat of intelligence.
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The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, England. The college was founded in 1341 by Robert de Eglesfield in honour of Queen Philippa of Hainault, it is distinguished by its predominantly neoclassical architecture, which includes buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. In 2018, the college had an endowment of £ 291 million; the college was founded in 1341 as "Hall of the Queen's scholars of Oxford" by Robert de Eglesfield, chaplain to Queen Philippa of Hainault, after whom the hall was named. Robert's aim was where he lived in Westmorland. In addition, the college was to provide charity for the poor; the college's coat of arms is that of the founder. The current coat of arms was adopted by d'Eglesfield because he was unable to use his family's arms, being the younger son. D'Eglesfield had grand plans for the college, with a provost, twelve fellows studying theology, up to thirteen chaplains, seventy-two poor boys. However, the college did not have the funding to support such numbers, had just two fellows.
The college gained land and patronage in the mid-15th century, giving it a good endowment and allowing it to expand to 10 fellows by the end of the century. By 1500, the college had started to take paying undergraduates sons of the gentry and middle class, who paid the fellows for teaching. There were 14 of these in 1535; the college added lectureships in philosophy. Provost Henry Robinson obtained an Act of Parliament incorporating the college as'The Queen's College' in 1585, so Robinson is known as the second founder. Following the new foundation, the college flourished until the 1750s. Joseph Williamson, admitted as a poor boy and went on to become a fellow, rose to Secretary of State and amassed a fortune, he funded a new range on Queen's Lane built in 1671–72. Following a bequest of books from Thomas Barlow, a new library was built between 1693 and 1696 by master builder John Townesend. A further bequest from Williamson of £6,000, along with purchase of the buildings along the High Street, allowed a new front quad to be built and for the remaining medieval buildings to be replaced.
This was completed by 1759 by John's son William Townesend. The college gained a large number of benefactions during this time, which helped to pay for the buildings and bring in more scholars from other northern, towns. From the 1750s, as with other Oxford colleges, standards dropped; the Oxford commission of 1850–1859 revised the statues and removed the northern preference for fellows and most of the students. Over the coming years, requirements for fellows to be unmarried were relaxed, the number of fellows required to have taken orders and studied theology was reduced, in 1871 the Universities Tests Act allowed non-conformists and Catholics. Like many of Oxford's colleges, Queen's admitted its first mixed-sex cohort in 1979, after more than six centuries as an institution for men only; the college is named for Queen Philippa of Hainault. Established in January 1341'under the name of the Hall of the Queen's scholars of Oxford', the college was subsequently called the'Queen's Hall','Queenhall' and'Queen's College'.
An Act of 1585 sought to end this confusion by providing that it should be called by the one name'the Queen's College'. The full name of the College, as indicated in its annual reports, is The Provost and Scholars of The Queen’s College in the University of Oxford. Queens' College in Cambridge positions its apostrophe differently and has no article, as it was named for multiple Queens. In April 2012, as part of the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, a series of commemorative stamps was released featuring A-Z pictures of famous British landmarks; the Queen's College's front quad was used on the Q stamp, alongside other landmarks such as the Angel of the North on A and the Old Bailey on O. One of the most famous feasts of the College is the Boar's Head Gaudy, the Christmas dinner for members of the College who were unable to return home to the north of England over the Christmas break between terms, but is now a feast for old members of the College on the Saturday before Christmas.
The main entrance on the High Street leads to the front quad, built between 1709 and 1759. There are symmetrical ranges on the east and west sides, while at the back of the quad is a building containing the chapel and the hall. Nicholas Hawksmoor provided a number of designs that were not used directly but that influenced the final design. Above the college entrance is a statue of Caroline of Ansbach by the sculptor Henry Cheere; the chapel is noted for its Frobenius organ in the west gallery. It was installed in 1965, replacing a Rushworth and Dreaper organ from 1931; the earliest mention of an organ is 1826. The Chapel Choir has been described as "Oxford's finest mixed-voice choir" and continues to perform termly concerts, recent examples of which inclu
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, between possibility and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together mean "after or behind or among the natural", it has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics. Metaphysics studies questions related to what it is for something to exist and what types of existence there are. Metaphysics seeks to answer, in an abstract and general manner, the questions: What is there? What is it like? Topics of metaphysical investigation include existence and their properties and time, cause and effect, possibility. Metaphysics study, conducted using deduction from that, known a priori. Like foundational mathematics, it tries to give a coherent account of the structure of the world, capable of explaining our everyday and scientific perception of the world, being free from contradictions.
In mathematics, there are many different ways. While metaphysics may, as a special case, study the entities postulated by fundamental science such as atoms and superstrings, its core topic is the set of categories such as object and causality which those scientific theories assume. For example: claiming that "electrons have charge" is a scientific theory. There are two broad stances about; the strong, classical view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist independently of any observer, so that the subject is the most fundamental of all sciences. The weak, modern view assumes that the objects studied by metaphysics exist inside the mind of an observer, so the subject becomes a form of introspection and conceptual analysis; some philosophers, notably Kant, discuss both of these "worlds" and what can be inferred about each one. Some philosophers, such as the logical positivists, many scientists, reject the strong view of metaphysics as meaningless and unverifiable. Others reply that this criticism applies to any type of knowledge, including hard science, which claims to describe anything other than the contents of human perception, thus that the world of perception is the objective world in some sense.
Metaphysics itself assumes that some stance has been taken on these questions and that it may proceed independently of the choice—the question of which stance to take belongs instead to another branch of philosophy, epistemology. Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as the core of metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, subdivided according to similarities and differences. Identity is a fundamental metaphysical issue. Metaphysicians investigating identity are tasked with the question of what it means for something to be identical to itself, or — more controversially — to something else. Issues of identity arise in the context of time: what does it mean for something to be itself across two moments in time? How do we account for this? Another question of identity arises when we ask what our criteria ought to be for determining identity?
And how does the reality of identity interface with linguistic expressions? The metaphysical positions one takes on identity have far-reaching implications on issues such as the mind-body problem, personal identity and law; the ancient Greeks took extreme positions on the nature of change. Parmenides denied change altogether, while Heraclitus argued that change was ubiquitous: "ou cannot step into the same river twice." Identity, sometimes called Numerical Identity, is the relation that a "thing" bears to itself, which no "thing" bears to anything other than itself. A modern philosopher who made a lasting impact on the philosophy of identity was Leibniz, whose Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals is still in wide use today, it states that if some object x is identical to some object y any property that x has, y will have as well. Put formally, it states ∀ x ∀ y However, it seems, that objects can change over time. If one were to look at a tree one day, the tree lost a leaf, it would seem that one could still be looking at that same tree.
Two rival theories to account for the relationship between change and identity are perdurantism, which treats the tree as a series of tree-stages, endurantism, which maintains that the organism—the same tree—is present at every stage in its history. Objects appear to us in space and time, while abstract entities such as classes, r