Essay on A Debate Over Utilitarianism

Submitted By monk1982
Words: 481
Pages: 2

A DEBATE OVER
UTILITARIANISM
In the elements of moral philosophy
By J. Rachels
Presented by – Nida Naqvi

UTILITARIAN APPROACH TO ETHICS




Jeremy Bentham’s motto “the greatest good for the greatest number” 

A legal reformer who lived during the 18th and the 19th centuries



Objective – provide publicly acceptable norm for determining what kind of laws England should enact. Example Theft analysis

John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)


“ The Utilitarian doctrine is that happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things being desirable as means to that end”

2
A Debate Over Utilitarianism

WHAT IS UTILITARIANISM?




Text definition– An ethical approach that emphasizes the consequences of an action and seeks the action or decision where the benefits most outweigh the costs.
Classical version – summarized by 3 propositions


Actions to be judged by right or wrong solely by virtue of their consequences; nothing else matters



In assessing consequences, the only thing that matters is the amount of happiness or unhappiness that is created, everything else is irrelevant.



Each person’s happiness counts as the same.

3
A Debate Over Utilitarianism

ETHICISTS OBJECTIONS TO
UTILITARIANISM






Is Pleasure all that matters?


What things are good? vs. What actions are right?



Hedonism: pleasure is one ultimate good and pain is one ultimate evil. Are Consequences all that matter?


Is it ok to treat someone unfairly for quick justice?



Is it ok to violate rights if actions produce a favorable balance of happiness over unhappiness?



Backward-looking reasons

Should we be equally concerned for everyone?


Utilitarianism is too demanding



Utilitarianism disrupts personal relationships

4
A Debate Over Utilitarianism

DEFENSE OF UTILITARIANISM


Denying That the Consequences would be Good – even if immoral 

Principle of Utility is a guide for choosing Rules, Not Acts


Rule-Utilitarianism “Action is…