One of the objections which I consider to be of strength is one regarding the over flexibility of the sanction principle. The in-built nature of utilitarianism as a theory, fails to impose plausible corrective consequences to those actions which do not comply with the stipulated rules of the moral theory. Though the theory claims to not promote actions of self benefit, it fails to blatantly rebuke actions contravening general morality, by offering acceptance to such given that the justification provided corresponds with the guidelines of the theory. This objection is of collorally effect to a line of criticisms. Bernard Williams presents a reasonable flaw of the theory not being able to uphold justice and fairness.
There are two types of utilitarianism: Act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism is a belief in which, an individual’s actions are moral as long as the actions produce the greatest outcome possible. 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
Natural law, on the other hand, is an exemplary theory of legislation, which typifies the substructure for all human conducts. In order words, Natural Law represents the moral standards or ethical codes that regulate human actions. In the history of political philosophy,
Ethical egoism is a normative theory that states an individual 's actions must be done from the perspective to maximize one’s self-interest. Ethical egoism requires that people give special treatment to themselves, and that they have a duty to serve their self-interest. Ethical egoism holds that a person should act only when the action benefits them, and they should therefore refrain from actions when the act provides no benefits for them. When one action is wrong the opposite of the action would seem to be one that is correct. If helping a person would prevent your own self-interest, this would seem to make it morally permissible for a person to perform harm to others in situations where their self-interest would benefit from the action.
Act Utilitarianism, being a hedonistic view, promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest good, however Rule Utilitarianism is based on rules of thumb, which may contradict themselves. For example, Rule Utilitarianism makes progress in the sense of being moral saints. This is based on how it takes “into account the effects of the rule or practice itself” (pg. 137). Those whose needs have been met who want to give a portion of their income to the less fortunate promote the greater good.
I will begin with utilitarianism. The fundamental principles of Utilitarianism assign value to actions based on the ‘greater good’ theory (fundamentally, greatest good for the greatest number) and the actions consequences. It is teleological and holds that the moral action is the one that maximizes utility. Without
There is something in this idea that can be applied to morality. Some actions, like journeys, have value regardless of the outcomes they produce. Williams brings this point about to show how the utilitarian’s focus on consequences might not be the best way to assign value to actions, since it has no way of accounting for the intrinsic values actions may have. Here I have to agree with Williams. The manner in which consequentialist judge actions does not seem to allow any room for considering a person’s intent behind choosing to commit that act.
If helping a person would prevent your own self-interest, this would seem to make it morally permissible for a person to perform harm to others in situations where their self-interest would benefit from the action. But, an egoistic must act with one’s own eternal self-interest, therefore they are not just individuals who believe that they should always do what they like when they like because acting in accordance with this would not necessarily benefit the person in the long term. When we say that a person should do something, we are also implying is that they are capable of doing the action, but we cannot expect people to do things that they cannot do. Ethical egoism comes in two forms and they are act-egoism and rule-egoism. Act-egoism is the
CONSEQUENTALISM Consequentalism is an ethical theory defends that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgement about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Result is important and if there is a good outcome, or consequence, there is a morally right act. In this ethic no type of act is inherently wrong – not even murdering. Which can be summarized as “the end justifies the means” (Mizzoni, John. Ethics: The Basics.
This course of action cannot simply be justified through consequentialist views such as the DDE, where the overall outcome is the only important decision factor. Non-consequentialist factors are of equal importance in the morality of an action. When viewing MacAskill’s cases and his response to the harm-based objection, it is important to consider the non-consequentialist, right-based theory of Libertarianism that maintains if an act violates a right, then it is morally wrong; individual rights are a fundamental element in deeming an action morally permissible. Libertarians do not focus on consequences when evaluating actions, instead believing that rights are so important that they must not be violated even to produce better consequences. This belief goes directly against the DDE, which evaluates an action solely based on the consequences produced.
To Mill, the right actions to take are those that promote happiness, the wrong actions to take are those that promote pain (Pg. 90). Mill defines happiness as feeling many kinds of pleasures and only few temporary pains in our lifetime (Pg. 89). Like Bentham and Epicurean, Mill thinks that the Greatest Happiness Principle ought to be the foundation of our societies.
Based of the Non Identity Problem reading, it can be classified under three general principles. The first is that future acts that harm the existing or future person are considered morally wrong. Therefore, acts that benefit future people cannot be morally wrong. Next, we must consider if an act does affect any future person, it is considered morally right to let a person exist, rather than let them not exist. If the choice causes them to be worse off, it is still better than not existing at all.
There were two prominent ideas from the Sandel text that applied to the ethical issue I chose to examine. John Stuart Mill had two theories about Utilitarianism and the valuing of life in regards to harm and autonomy. Secondly, was Kant’s determination of the moral valuing of life. Mill, a Utilitarian, discussed the notion of justice and that all people are cognoscente beings and, as such, are entitled to self-defense. Mill’s assertions are important because he determines that everyone has a right to act of their own volition, provided that they do not harm others.
The ultimate goal of this theory is to bring happiness to those involved and to also prevent evil and unhappiness within the group (Bentham, 39). The same goes for an individual. Whatever option would bring that person the greatest pleasure would be the right choice and all other options would be wrong because they would be bringing them pain. Bentham states that when you consider an individual or a group then you can determine the value of the pleasure or pain felt in a situation through evaluating its intensity, duration, certainty/ uncertainty, propinquity/ remoteness, fecundity, and purity (41). This means that you can determine the amount of pleasure or pain a person will feel depending on how greatly it scores on these