Conclusion The debate between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism highlights many important issues about how we should make moral judgments. James Alan Gardner, Ascending This is a humorous critique of utilitarianism based on the fact that not everyone deserves to be happy. God simply wills things, and they become reality. In addition, there are not many people who, given the opportunity, would deny happiness since denying that happiness and getting what they want would give them happiness from the satisfaction of getting what they want. Tallying only those consequences reveals that assisting the victim would be the morally correct choice, irrespective of the negative consequences that result for her. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure.
Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy. Another misconception about utilitarianism stems from a confusion of happiness with contentment. Imagine you are the captain of a ship and you have a book of navigation that shows %99 of the cases which way to go. Bentham attracted as his disciples a number of younger earlier 19th-century men. Our property, our families, and even our lives are at continual risk. In theory, resolving particular applied ethical issues should be easy.
The principles selected must not be too narrowly focused, such as a version of act-egoism that might focus only on an action's short-term benefit. Similarly, if a government is choosing a policy, it should give equal consideration to the well-being of all members of the society. A small group of British philosophers offered powerful arguments for utilitarianism, dealing with many of the more common objections and helping to place utilitarianism on a more respectable footing. Technically, skeptics did not reject moral values themselves, but only denied that values exist as spirit-like objects, or as divine commands in the mind of God. Being healthy or honest or having knowledge, for example, are thought by some people to be intrinsic goods that are not types of feelings.
People who are convinced by the criticisms of act utilitarianism may decide to reject utilitarianism entirely and adopt a different type of moral theory. Despite such differences among utilitarians, however, most hold to the general principle that morality must depend on balancing the beneficial and harmful consequences of our conduct. Something has instrumental value when it is a means to some end. Some of them do not allow for other views whilst others leave themselves open to incorporate ideas from other utilitarian ideas. For Bentham, pleasure and pain are the only consequences that matter in determining whether our conduct is moral.
Act utilitarians see the stop sign as too rigid because it requires drivers to stop even when nothing bad will be prevented. The right action is the one that maximizes, produces the most of, what's valuable, or if that's uncertain, that produces the most expected value. As such, it moves beyond the scope of one's own interests and takes into account the interests of others. Today, I'm going to talk about utilitarianism. Plato explained the eternal character of mathematics by stating that they are abstract entities that exist in a spirit-like realm. For this reason, principles that appeal to duty to God are not usually cited since this would have no impact on a nonbeliever engaged in the debate. Quillian 1949 treatment of the concept of moral… 861 Words 4 Pages According to utilitarianism, all the actions that an individual chooses to perform at any particular time must be geared toward achieving happiness.
Civil wars, economic decline, famine, and unrest, they predicted, will be the result of allowing the black majority of South Africa to run the government. On the one hand, we have seen brilliant philosophers take up the ideas of deontology and virtue ethics, making new arguments for some very old ideas. It was only in the later stages of the Enlightenment, when traditional Christianity was being revolutionized both from inside and outside, that utilitarianism became a mainstream philosophy. According to this rule, an individual is responsible for, and concerned with, the well-being and happiness of others. They claim that rule utilitarianism allows for partiality toward ourselves and others with whom we share personal relationships. Analyzing 11 specific virtues, Aristotle argued that most virtues fall at a mean between more extreme character traits.
Yes, that's why we choose the homeless and dispossessed it is much easier to lie about it that way. Such a person will make good moral decisions on their own without the need for abstract moral rules. The next criticism Mill takes on is the claim that it is base and demeaning to reduce the meaning of life to pleasure. Harvard University Press, 1986; Chapter 7. She asked the hired driver to pull over to assist, but, to her surprise, the driver accelerated nervously past the scene.
However, it does accept the idea of declining marginal utility, which recognizes that the same thing furthers the interests of a well-off individual to a lesser degree than it would the interests of a less well-off individual. For Kant, we treat people as an end whenever our actions toward someone reflect the inherent value of that person. The issue of drive-by shooting, for example, is not an applied ethical issue, since everyone agrees that this practice is grossly immoral. If, in cases like the ones described above, judges, doctors, and promise-makers are committed to doing whatever maximizes well-being, then no one will be able to trust that judges will act according to the law, that doctors will not use the organs of one patient to benefit others, and that promise-makers will keep their promises. The key difference between these signs is the amount of discretion that they give to the driver.
Selfishness alone will therefore motivate each agent to adopt a basic set of rules which will allow for a civilized community. According to this perspective, we should judge the morality of individual actions by reference to general moral rules, and we should judge particular moral rules by seeing whether their acceptance into our moral code would produce more well-being than other possible rules. This view is called and maintains that self-oriented interests ultimately motivate all human actions. There are two general directions that discussions of this topic take, one other-worldly and one this-worldly. Impartiality and the Problem of Over-Demandingness Rule utilitarians believe that their view is also immune to the criticism that act utilitarianism is too demanding.
Rule utilitarianism stresses the recurrent features of human life and the ways in which similar needs and problems arise over and over again. A rule utilitarian evaluation will take account of the fact that the benefits of medical treatment would be greatly diminished because people would no longer trust doctors. More specifically, the only effects of actions that are relevant are the good and bad results that they produce. Mill's essay published in Fraser's Magazine 1861 , is an elegant defense of the general Utilitarian doctrine and perhaps remains the best introduction to the subject. According to Baier, then, proper moral decision making involves giving the best reasons in support of one course of action versus another.