Objections To Utilitarianism

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Whilst utilitarianism supports democracy and encourages people to act selflessly, it is due to the intuitive dislike that utilitarianism prompts in the minds of many, that it has been subject to several criticisms. In this essay, I will use both moral intuitions and examples to outline three of the strongest objections to utilitarianism. I will furthermore illustrate how such objections ultimately show utilitarianism to be unsuccessful. To achieve this it is, however, necessary that I discuss the concept of utilitarianism, as well as how such a theory influences the decisions and actions of moral agents.
Utilitarianism is a moral, consequentialist theory that holds that the right action to perform is that which produces the best consequences,
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Utilitarianism only considers one normative factor, the maximization of overall happiness, consequently, it often conflicts with our common-sense morality and permits immoral actions as well as great individual deviation from social norms. For instance, utilitarianism permits immoral practices such as sadism by implying that sadistic acts are the right acts to perform if the sadist derives more pleasure from this practice than their victims derive pain. This is because they would be maximizing the overall amount of happiness/well-being. This belief conflicts with the existing moral intuitions of many who believe that the torturing of innocent people for pleasure is by no means acceptable, let alone the right action to perform. An example that demonstrates instances where utilitarianism can give us the morally wrong answer as to which act we ought to perform, involves a surgeon who is faced with the decision of killing one healthy patient, harvesting their organs and transplanting them into five patients who are dying in order to save their lives or doing nothing and allowing the five sick patients to die. Utilitarianism maintains that the surgeon do the act that produces the maximum overall amount of utility, namely, the surgeon must kill the one healthy patient to save the five others. Whilst our intuition tells us that the surgeon is morally wrong in performing the organ transplants at the cost of an…show more content…
Utilitarianism holds that George must sacrifice his core values and abandon his commitment to the belief that biochemical warfare is wrong and take the job. In doing so, he would be able to prevent the rapid development of biochemical warfare at the hands of the enthusiast and he would additionally be able to support his family, making this the action which produces the greatest overall amount of happiness/well-being. Utilitarianism, as a moral theory, can be rejected on the ground that it forces agents such as George to give up their sense of moral self in order to pursue overall

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