Henry Sidgwick used this metaphor to present what he believed to be a self-evident moral truth: the good of an individual is no more important than the good of any other. He argued that ethical judgments are objective truths that we can know by reason, the ethical axioms which he considered to be self-evident provide a basis for utilitarianism. He complements this with a justification argument that nothing except consciousness states, has definite value, which led him to assert that Pleasure is the only thing intrinsically good.
Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek
and Peter Singer
tested these claims against a variety of views heldby contemporary Ethics writers, and concluded they are tenable, and therefore made a defense of objectivism in ethics, utilitarianism and hedonism. With that questioning the conflict between self-interest and universal benevolence; it would be wrong to do something that can openly be right, if kept secret; the moral status of animals; and what is the ideal population.
In order to determine whether something is good, Epicurus would ask if it increased pleasure or reduced pain. If it did, it was good as a means; if it did not, it was not good at all. Thus justice was good but merely as an expedient arrangement to prevent mutual harm. Why not then commit injustice when we can get away with it? Only because, Epicurus says, the perpetual dread of discovery will cause painful anxiety.