Many writers have often said that the best way to start an essay is on a positive note. So, I’ll start by saying this is a very tough answer which I will never have a one hundred per cent (100% for those of you who have an OCD with regards to numbers being written as words), watertight answer to - so much for that advice eh? Oh well – I said ‘writers’, not ‘great writers’ and these are the same people who eat crisps in a bowl, have a container marked ‘biscuits’, eat pizza with a knife and fork (I’m not going to lie, I am scoffing my face whilst writing this!) and say essays should be formal – well, you’re not going to like what’s coming so be a good little angel and have a relaxing beverage … and don’t forget the coaster! Anyway, back to the subject, I will never have a perfect answer because in order for that to happen, I will need to know all utilitarian’s in the world – which I don’t. In fact, I only know two open utilitarian’s – who go by the names of Bentham (and before you ask, no he’s not a malleable piece of poultry! His first name was Jeremy which, to be fair does make you think of Jeremy Clarkson who can be described as a certain type of poultry!) and Mill (again, before you ask, his first name was not Wind, it was John! He did have a middle name though, but sorry, that wasn’t Wind either! It was Stuart.) Both of these men, between them, formed Utilitarianism. And it is their respective versions of Utilitarianism that have been scrutinised and criticised. The degree of success to which utilitarian’s have defended their belief and theory against criticism varies depending on which criticism it is up against along with the type of weapon a given utilitarian has at the time of challenge. To help you keep score of the occasions in which utilitarian’s succeed in defending their belief in their ethical theory and the occasions in which they do not, I will play referee and …. Well, keep score (I hope that you too, can feel the tennis analogy coming on!).
First set. Anti Murray to serve. (No? Come on! Anti Murray! ANTI Murray! Fine! Suit yourselves you miserable little ….. Feel free to finish that sentence with your own expletives!) A criticism of utilitarianism is that it can condone supposed wrongs such as lying and stalking (there’s my defence sorted!). The compiler of antiutilitarian arguments seldom deter from the most common line of argument when criticising Utilitarianism. The line of argument being to describe an event, say what is the necessary reaction for a utilitarian, show that action to be wrong or bad and then win the point. Seems good to me. 15 love! It is good, except one small detail, the event in question always seems to be some sort of far-fetched example that happens once every million years or, to put it into a modern context, the time it would take for Adele to turn a full 360 degrees (that’s a full circle for those of you who are rubbish at maths and just plain common sense.). 15 all. The defence of utilitarianism is simply that for the criticism to be true, such events would have to have a chance of occurring which they never will (I mean, have you seen Adele?) meaning that the criticism is actually not worth considering at all not least because Utilitarianism is used as a practical guide for real situations. An example that is often used against Utilitarianism is that of a ‘Peeping Tom’ (need I explain?) who stares at a woman getting dressed without her ever finding out. According to Utilitarianism, Tom could peep all he wanted as his pleasure was being increased and no pain was being caused to the woman as she did not know. But, the defence aforementioned is applied because in the real world, such people are caught and their victims suffer. A defence of Act Utilitarianism (J.S. Mill’s Utilitarianism) would be that he would never justify the