Consider the case of psychopath oral surgeon.  He puts a woman under, fixes her teeth, undresses her, molests her and puts her clothes back on.  He then wakes her up.  The woman wakes up none the wiser.  He didn’t physically injure her.  He received sexual gratification.

Now if we assume the following about our moral view:

1) maximizing happiness is the goal of morality.

2) sexual gratification is as a form of happiness

would this be a good thing for the orthodontist to do?

You might say he will feel guilty, but he is a psychopath and so will suffer no guilty feelings.   Does his lack of guilt make the act better?

I am also curious if people accept the 2 premises of the morality I present.  Perhaps they need to be reworded.


Just to clarify. By “happiness” I do not mean to limit it to epicurean moralism at all. The term for happiness here can be much broader and even mean the equivalent of the Greek word eudaimonia which is usually translated as happiness.  This can mean well being or human flourishing.

Of course, in this hypothetical the definition of “happiness” “wellbeing” “human flourishing “must place value sexual gratification (which I think the vast majority of secular humanists do) but “happiness” isn’t intended to be limited to that or limited to purely pleasure and pain.  I hope that clarifies and explains why the hypothetical applies to many more moral systems.