After reading J.J. C. Smart’s essay, “Utilitarianism,” answer the following questions:
- What do utilitarians like Bentham and Smart mean by characterizing some pleasures as “fecund”? Why are the pleasures of poetry said to be more fecund than the pleasures of playing pushpin?
- The utilitarian is sometimes accused of overlooking issues of equity. According to Smart, “The cases in which one can make one person verymuch happier without increasing general happiness are rare ones.” Assuming that this is true, how does it bear on the question of equity? Is it true?
- How does Smart deal with the objection that someone made euphorically happy through electronic means is a utilitarian success? Do you find Smart’s answer plausible? Do you think his answer is true to the spirit of utilitarianism?
Post your thoughts and comments to all the above questions.