Sandel's Two Objections To Utilitarianism

529 Words3 Pages
Sandel’s two objections to utilitarianism are individual rights and a common currency of value. Sandel’s first objection is individual rights as he believes that utilitarianism does not respect individual rights because utilitarianism deals with total utility or sum of satisfactions (37). Hence, utilitarianism does not focus on the individual but rather what the majority, finds the most satisfying or pleasurable. The second objection Sandel has to utilitarianism is a common currency of value. Sandel states, “All values can’t be captured by a common currency of value” (41). He states that the idea of cost benefit analysis is flawed. In the cases he presents, cost benefit analysis is used to calculate the total monetary utility for governments and big businesses. However this idea is morally unjust because it is not morally permissible to…show more content…
John Stuart Mill’s notion of higher pleasures addresses the utilitarian criticism of a common currency of value or in other words, the notion that utilitarianism reduces all values to a single scale. Bentham’s utilitarianism is hedonistic in that he believes that all pleasures/preferences are equal. Mill’s approach is different and more eudemonistic. Sandel points out the example of Romans throwing Christians to the lions from earlier in the book and states that it would be better to change the preferences the Romans have of seeing something so perverse rather than to satisfy the pleasures gained from viewing something so vile. According to Bentham all pleasure is equal as he states that “pleasure is pleasure and pain is pain” (52).However the pleasure that the onlookers receive from such a thing is perverse and not a positive pleasure such as the pleasure you receive from exercising. Mill takes a slightly different stance compared to Bentham. Mill, unlike Bentham, does not believe that all pleasures are equal and that you can differentiate higher pleasure
Open Document