Moral theories are theories that help us distinguish between a right or a wrong action. Adequate moral theories help us understand that what we should or shouldn’t do in certain situations. Two of the most famous moral theories are Utilitarianism and Kantianism. According to Utilitarianism, an action is right if only if it out of all the other action gives out the maximum utility. In oppose to that, Kantianism says that an action is right if and only if, in performing that action, the person does not treat anyone as a mean and treats everyone as an end in itself.
There are a few significant aspects of this definition. First, it shows utility, or the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain, as both the basis of everything that people desire, and as the foundation of morality. However, utilitarianism does not say that it is right for individuals to simply pursue what makes them personally happy. Rather, morality is dictated by the greatest happiness principle, that is, moral action is that which increases the total amount of utility in the world. Pursuing one 's own happiness at the expense of social happiness would not be moral under this framework.
This essay will reject the utilitarian claim as to always act as to maximize utility. In order to exhibit why this claim fails, this argument will be based on the most refined description of utility, namely, preference satisfaction utilitarianism, an action which is right, because it produces the most of what is intrinsically valuable, which is more than just the ultimate consequence of pleasure as suggested by the hedonistic utilitarian but instead, is the maximization of individual human preferences being satisfied in relation to the world and therefore, this action creates the maximum balance of happiness over unhappiness for all human beings concerned. This essay will present three objections against and three separate responses in defence
Humans are rational beings by nature. However, in all reality, we are also selfish beings, where the majority of people want the most good for themselves and then later consider the needs of others. Utilitarianism involves a higher incidence of making circumstantial especially personal exemptions and a higher chance of promoting selfish gains. Often times, people use others merely as stepping stones, so that they can first succeed. Far too often the mentality of members of society stems from the idea of after I am personally successful, then I will donate to the poor and do more charitable deeds, yet at this current time I need to focus on myself, not others.
However, the good will may depend on outside factors to bring about good in a person. Thus, I argue if Kant’s theory were true, it would be very difficult to be a good person as utilitarianism do not allow for acts that go beyond duty. Kant’s argument suggests that good will is the only thing good without qualification. First, Kant begins to distinguish between things that are good without qualification and things that are good only under certain qualified conditions. For example, gifts of nature such as understanding, wit, and judgement, or gifts of fortune such as power, riches,
Ayn Rand also had an argument against ethical egoism believing it is a mistake to treat the interest of some individuals as being less important than the interest of others. She thought on the fact that your interest is yours is not relevant to their importance relative to the importance of the interest of others. So, it is a mistake to treat your own interests as if they are more important than the interest of others. Personally, I agree with Ayn Rand’s view supporting ethical egoism. I’ve realized that I only do whatever I choose to do for my own self benefit and self-interest.
Mill also defends the unprovability the utilitarian axiom. But also argues saying that, because we want happiness fact, this is the greatest good; and if it is for everyone, it will be for everyone. Sidgwick goes one step further by stating that the principle of utility is known by intuition; Moore also end up claiming the intuitive evidence for utilitarianism. However, and consequently, as was happened with the conception of the good in general, here empiricism has come to reject the intuitive evidence for it as dangerous sign of an arbitrary dogmatism, as they say, is one of private and subjective criteria. Thus, more recent utilitarian defend his doctrine from a position or non-cognitive justification, not rational.
Instead of focusing on consequences, deontological ethics focus on duties and obligation: things we ought to do regardless of the consequences. While utilitarian ethics focuses on producing the greatest happiness for the greatest number, deontological ethics focuses on what makes us worthy of happiness. For Kant, as for the Stocis and other who emphasize duty, we are worthy of happiness only when we do our duty. As Kant explained, morality “is not properly the doctrine of how we are to make ourselves happy but of how we are to become worthy of happiness.” For Kant, morality is not a “doctrine of happiness” or set of instructions on how to become happy. Rather, morality is the “rational condition of happiness”
Utilitarianism is a relativistic ethic because each time the outcomes of each ethical questions will be different. Utilitarianism considers the consequences of the action as an assessment of whether an action is morally right or wrong. The beginnings of utilitarianism are often accredited to Jeremy Bentham. Bentham adopted the view of Hedonism which states that the only thing intrinsically good, or right, is pleasure (Nathanson, n.d.). Bentham stated that “nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.
Theorists came up with the rule utilitarianism as a response to different concerns critics had about utilitarianism. In other words, utilitarians responded to the critics by stating and coming up with rule utilitarianism and how it can deal with rights and justice. One concern critics had was that utilitarianism only looked at how much utility is produced but fails to take into account how the utility is distributed among