Notes on Hedonism and Utilitarianism

Teleological (or consequentialist) theories of ethics (e.g., egoism, hedonism, utilitarianism) assume that the first task of ethics is to determine that which has value (and thus defines the good) and then to indicate how we are obligated to do what is valuable.  Before we know why we should do good, we first have to determine what the good is.  Specifically, we have to consider the consequences of our actions, since actions in themselves are neither good nor bad.