Utilitarianism is an ethical theory summed up by the phrase, the right action is one which creates the sum total amount of happiness for the greatest number. Therefore, utilitarians believe that morality’s purpose is to maximise the number of good things, such as happiness, and decrease the number of bad things, such as unhappiness, in the world. Critics of utilitarianism believe that this theory cannot accommodate moral rights since we go against our intuitions in moral dilemmas. However, utiltarians have a response to these criticisms which shows that utilitarianism is defensible.
In the reading, "Utilitarianism," the author argues that happiness is the main criteria for morality since people base their actions off of the overall happiness it could promote (pp. 195 and 198) and that while actions differ in the quantity and quality of pleasure, pleasurable actions that require intellect are of the higher pleasures (pp. 196-197).
The idea behind Kantian Ethics is that doing the right thing is not about the consequences of our actions but rather the principle motivating the action. Actions must be performed out of duty, that is, it is done solely because we have an obligation to perform such action out of respect for the moral law. As explained by Immanuel Kant, “the moral worth of an action done out of duty has its moral worth” (105). Kant argues that to act morally, then, is to “act only on the maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (108).
Mills explains Utilitarianism as achieving life’s goals, it is what everyone wants or seek for. He further explains that utilitarianism promotes the quality of life. Furthermore, utilitarianism is connected to happiness, because we all seek to achieve different goals in life, and those goals are what makes up happy. We all want certain things in life, or want to achieve certain things. Utilitarianism promotes happiness, happiness exclude pain, suffering, struggles, stress, and anything that makes one ‘unhappy’ or ‘sad’.
A man by the name of John Stuart Mill seems to be able to give us some answers to these questions. Mill starts our inquiring journey with defining what utilitarianism stands for. In short he states that it is the construction of utility, which claims that the actions that stimulate happiness in is morally fit and vice versa to be unfit. Happiness is something that we want for
Rule utilitarianism is a belief in which, an action is morally right, as long as it justified in accordance to a particular law. Utilitarianism is less complicated to understand (compared to other moral theories) because it consists of “doing whatever produces the best consequences” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Virtue Ethics). Mill viewed the greatest happiness principle as the cornerstone of morals, he
The main principle of utilitarianism is happiness. People who follow this theory strive to fulfill the “ultimate good”. The “ultimate good” is defined as ultimate pleasure with out any pain. It is said that the pleasure can be of any quantity and any quality, but pleasures that are weighted more important are put at a higher level than others that are below it. This ethical theory also states that if society would fully embrace utilitarianism then people would naturally realize their moral standing in the
Caleb Stephens April 15, 2017 Introduction to Philosophy The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that Philippa Foot’s objection, raised to her own argument against utilitarianism, is correct. Her initial thesis is that benevolence, while the foundation of utilitarianism, is an internal end of morality, rather than the ultimate end of morality. The possible objection to this that there must be some overarching reason behind morality, which must imply a form of consequentialism. The response she offers is that there should be some other form of morality, which is a weak argument, as it does not provide an alternate conception of morality itself.
Utilitarianism focuses on maximizing overall happiness. As a result, utilitarians may use people as mere means in order to achieve maximum overall happiness. This could also be interpreted as if the sacrifice of a few leads to the happiness of many, then it shall be done. Onora O’Neill strongly disagrees with this line of thinking. O’Neill is a Kantian and she believes that people should not be treated as mere means. Rather these people should be treated as ends in themselves, and helped to reach a level of autonomous action.
What Mill means by utilitarianism is giving the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. According to Sandel's lecture Mill's utilitarianism uses consequentialist reasoning. Categorical means absolute for example, if someone asks you if you are hungry a you say,"no",
It states that an action which is deemed right is one that has not merely some good consequences, but also the greatest amount of good consequences possible when the negative consequences are also given due considerations. According to the utilitarian principle, the righteousness of an action is solely judged on the basis of its consequences. Classical utilitarianism determines the balance of pleasure and pain for each individual affected by the action in question as well as the amount of utility for the whole
Utilitarianism is a teleological ethical theory based on the idea that an action is moral if it causes the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. The theory is concerned with predicted consequences or outcomes of a situation rather than focusing on what is done to get to the outcome. There are many forms of utilitarianism, having been introduced by Jeremy Bentham (act utilitarianism), and later being updated by scholars such as J.S. Mill (rule utilitarianism) and Peter Singer (preference utilitarianism). When referring to issues of business ethics, utilitarianism can allow companies to decide what to do in a given situation based on a simple calculation. Many people would agree that this idea of promoting goodness
John Stuart Mill, at the very beginning of chapter 2 entitled “what is utilitarianism”. starts off by explaining to the readers what utility is, Utility is defined as pleasure itself, and the absence of pain. This leads us to another name for utility which is the greatest happiness principle. Mill claims that “actions are right in proportions as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” “By Happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain, by happiness, pain and the privation of pleasure”. (Mill, utilitarianism, p.697)
In Defense of Utilitarianism, J.S. Mill In the excerpt from John Stuart Mill’s book, Utilitarianism, Mill defends the utilitarian theory against three different objections. The first, and strongest opposition to utilitarianism was the accusation that the emphasis on the pursuit of pleasure makes utilitarianism “a doctrine worthy of swine.” This was my favorite argument because Mill defended it so well stating that there are varying degrees of pleasure. He refers to them as “high” and “low” pleasures, which I do agree with.
John Stuart Mill attempts to defend the principle of utility is relation to the principle of justice in Utilitarianism; this defense seeks to explain how utility and justice coincide and not conflict. I find the principles of Utilitarianism conflicting with some principles of justice due to the tensions between utility and justice, but overall agree that justice cannot function without utility. I agree that the principle of utility can be applied in the social sphere and justice but I see the tensions that justice can have with utility. These tensions are developed through the accepted belief of rights, which often are seen as inviolable.