Utilitarianism can be further broken down into two distinct branches: act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism. Act-Utilitarianism, also known as classic utilitarianism, holds that we ought to do the act with the best consequences in terms of the most people. For classic utilitarians, the value that is to be maximized is pleasure-that is what has intrinsic value. On the other hand, pain is dis-valued and is considered a basic bad. The greatest happiness principle says that actions are right in proportion that they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the opposite of happiness.
In Utilitarianism the standard of morality is set on the basis of what is good for most and not just for one person. John Stuart Mill stated that: “The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of
In our text book, Ethics Theory and Issues, We have read numerous of philosophers that talk about the moral code of humans. This moral code is the bases of what humans should do to happy. Each phosphor has their own reasoning for why certain actions are moral and immoral. One philosopher in particular, John Stuart Mill, who deems an action’s moral worthiness by the happiness it creates. Mill’s theory is broken down into two aspects; act utilitarian’s that believe that each action should have its own review to see if it's moral or not based on the individual situation.
In simple words, a moral theory is an effort at outlining what an individual ought to do in accord to an intrinsic good. It can take many aspects, each with it’s own strength and weaknesses, and each appealing in it’s own way. In this paper I will focus on two normative ethical theories, consequentialism and deontology. I will respectively describe each one, and will then proceed to list their corresponding benefits and shortcomings. I will conclude by siding with consequentialism for various reasons that I will try my best to explain.
Two ethical theories in this course which I have chosen to discuss comprehensively are utilitarianism and Kantian moral theory. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory whose principal architects were Jeremy Bentham(1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). It derives it 's name from utility, which means usefulness.The utilitarian says that an act is right (moral) if it is useful in “bringing about a desirable or good end." It has been more characteristically stated, however, as "Everyone should perform that act or follow that moral rule that will bring about the greatest good (or happiness) for everyone concerned. (Thiroux & Krasemann, 2009)The reason for mentioning both acting and following rules is that utilitarianism generally is found in two main forms: Act Utilitarian and Rule utilitarian.
Ethicists of rights emphasize our rights to pursue our own good. Virtue ethicists accent the importance of self – respect. Each of these theories insists that the pursuit of self – interest must be balanced and kept under control by moral responsibilities to other people. Now let us consider a view called “Ethical Egoism” which challenges all the ethical theories and it tries to reduce morality to the pursuit of self-interest. It is called ‘egoism’, because it says that our main duty is to maximize our own good.
Mill’s Utilitarianism is focused around the greatest happiness principle which states that actions are right to the extent that they tend to promote happiness and wrong to the extent that they tend to promote the opposite. Happiness is defined as pleasure and the absence of pain. Bentham and Mill’s theories of Utilitarianism can be exemplified in trolley problem one, the passive approach. Kant’s theory of value states that the only intrinsically good thing is the “Good Will”, which is the will of an agent doing their duty for the sake of duty. For example, things that seem good like wit, money, or intelligence, are only good to the extent that they bring us other things.
Second, and even more important, humans have “an intrinsic worth, i.e., dignity,” because they are rational agents that is, capable of reasoning about his conduct and who freely decides what he will do, on the basis of his own rational conception of what is best.” (Rachels, 2003) As a human person having the capacity of reason and rationality, Rachels (2003) further states that, “Because the moral law is the law of reason, rational beings are the embodiment of the moral law itself. The only way that moral goodness can
The right or wrong of an action is the intrinsic spirit of an action. When the principle of an action can be universalized, the action is good. So, some actions are always good or wrong, no matter what the consequences are. Examples of these principles are: always tell the truth; never kill people no matter what the situation may be. At the heart of deontological theories is the idea that individuals are of worth and must be treated accordingly.
Ethical theories appear in different contexts, so they address diverse issues and they also represent some ethical principles. There are various ethical theories, however there are generally two major kinds of ethical theories which are deontological and teleological ethical theories. On the whole, while teleological theories refer to consequences, deontological theories are interested more in duty. As regard to deontology, it is concerned with the application of absolute, ethical principles so as to arrive at rules of conduct. Deontologist derives from the Greek word ‘deontos’ which means ‘what must be done’.