Response To Utilitarianism

1551 Words7 Pages
In this essay, I will explain the moral theory utilitarianism and outline its main claim; then I will present the most serious objection to utilitarianism: that it does not value justice; next, I will present utilitarianism’s refutation to the critique; lastly, I will evaluate utilitarianism’s reply and argue that utilitarianism can sufficiently answer this objection. While there are different schools within utilitarianism I will be focusing on its most common version: act utilitarianism (from this point on I will refer to it simply as “utilitarianism”).
Utilitarianism is a moral theory that tells us what we should and should not do—more specifically, what is a virtuous or vicious action. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that
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Thus, because just acts are not intrinsically moral, nor are unjust acts intrinsically immoral, it is plausible that utilitarianism requires one to commit an injustice if its outcome is optomific. This is in direct opposition to widely-accepted views of morality. For instance, acts that are universally viewed as innately wrong, such as violating basic human rights, killing innocent people, or stealing, are only deemed immoral, according to utilitarianism, if their outcomes are not optomific. If we instinctively view injustice as intrinsically immoral, then any proper moral theory should unconditionally prohibit us from committing any injustices.
Every rational individual would agree that we, as humans, have basic rights to life and freedom. Because we value our own basic rights, we necessarily should value other’s. It would be wrong to violate another individual’s basic rights. Therefore, it is true that any correct moral theory will never require us to commit serious injustices. Because the first premise and second premise are true, it necessarily follows that the conclusion is also true: utilitarianism is not the correct moral theory and should be
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