Do consequences matter more than intentions, why or why not?

Consider The Dark Knight, and evaluate the following three decisions made, in the context of Mill’s philosophy. 1) Batman’s decision not to kill the Joker. 2) Batman’s use of cell phone surveillance technology to locate the Joker. (remember that was an invasion of privacy and done without the consent of anyone) and 3) Batman’s decision to take the blame for Harvey Dent’s death and deceive the people of Gotham. How would a utilitarian like Mill evaluate each of these decisions? For Mill, which are right and which are wrong, and why? Now, speak to your own opinion. Is Mill right, is happiness the only worthy end? Do consequences matter more than intentions, why or why not? In your opinion, Which, if any of Batman’s decisions were morally correct, why or why not? If you agree, be sure to defend your opinion based on what you’ve learned about utilitarianism. And if you disagree, be sure to explain what flaw you see in utilitarianism that has led you to this decision.


A good act is the act that produces the most happiness for the most amount of people.

For Mill, the consequences are what determine the moral rightness of an act.

Happiness is the only thing that is an end unto itself.

What is happiness?

Pleasure and the absence of pain.

Long term happiness or immediate happiness?

we want happiness that is long term.

Is there a hierarchy of pleasures?

Mental/Intellectual pleasures are favored over physical pleasures.

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