The ethical theory of utilitarianism philosophy essay

Because people often drive too fast and are inattentive while driving because they are, for example, talking, texting, listening to music, or tiredwe cannot count on people to make good utilitarian judgments about how to drive safely. This raises some interesting questions. If the overall aim is to maximize the well-being of all people in all cities, for example, then we are likely to get better results by having individuals who know and understand particular cities focus on them while other people focus on other cities.

While the content of this rule is not impartial, rule utilitarians believe it can be impartially justified. A person without virtue is morally lacking, is not as able to promote the good. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism because it rests on the idea that it is the consequences or results of actions, laws, policies, etc.

This is the problem that holds that if we ought to maximize utility, if that is the right thing to do, then doing right requires enormous sacrifices under actual conditionsand that requiring such sacrifices is too demanding.

It can be used both for moral reasoning and for any type of rational decision-making. Although this case is very simple, it shows that we can have objectively true answers to questions about what actions are morally right or wrong.

Rule utilitarians argue that a rule utilitarian moral code will allow partiality to play a role in determining what morality requires, forbids, or allows us to do. Recall that Bentham was enormously interested in social reform. For these reasons, partiality toward specific children can be impartially justified.

For the psychological egoist, that is not even a possibility. Therefore, according to classical utilitarianism, when a person wishes to act in an ethically sound manner he or she should strive to bring about the greatest possible amount of happiness for the greatest possible amount of people.

While rule utilitarians can defend partiality, their commitment to maximizing overall utility also allows them to justify limits on the degree of partiality that is morally permissible.

Bentham, in making this move, avoids a problem for Hume. If seven like chocolate and three like vanilla and if all of them get the same amount of pleasure from the flavor they like, then you should choose chocolate.

In measuring pleasure and pain, Bentham introduces the following criteria: These will be looked at in a separate post. Sidgwick seems to recommending that we follow the course that we predict will have the best outcome, given as part of our calculations the data that others may fail in some way — either due to having bad desires, or simply not being able to reason effectively.

Act and Rule Utilitarianism

The three cases just discussed show why act utilitarianism undermines trust but rule utilitarianism does not. In a challenging essay, Lyons raises doubts about whether there is any coherent version of utilitarianism.

Wrong Answers and Crude Concepts Although rule utilitarians try to avoid the weaknesses attributed to act utilitarianism, critics argue that they cannot avoid these weaknesses because they do not take seriously many of our central moral concepts.

This is the problem of wrongful convictions, which poses a difficult challenge to critics of utilitarianism. Arguments for Act Utilitarianism i.

In a long, complex work, Parfit stresses the importance of Henry Sidgwick as a moral philosopher and argues that rule utilitarianism and Kantian deontology can be understood in a way that makes them compatible with one another.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant is famous for the view that lying is always wrong, even in cases where one might save a life by lying. The circumstances from which this antipathy may have taken its rise may be worth enquiring to…. So there is no incompatibility at all. Based on this judgment, we will be confident that we can do more good by giving the medication to the person suffering extreme pain.

He was a social reformer. The rule utilitarian approach to morality can be illustrated by considering the rules of the road. The contrast between act and rule utilitarianism, though previously noted by some philosophers, was not sharply drawn until the late s when Richard Brandt introduced this terminology.

The Greater Good; an Essay on Utilitarianism

Sidgwick was also concerned with clarifying fundamental features of the theory, and in this respect his account has been enormously influential to later writers, not only to utilitarians and consequentialists, generally, but to intuitionists as well.

Furthermore, Bentham did not distinguish between different forms of pleasure. If anything could be identified as the fundamental motivation behind the development of Classical Utilitarianism it would be the desire to see useless, corrupt laws and social practices changed.

Miller, in Chapter 6, argues that Mill was a rule utilitarian. And, for Jeremy Bentham, what made them bad was their lack of utility, their tendency to lead to unhappiness and misery without any compensating happiness.

In fact, however, the theory is complex because we cannot understand that single principle unless we know at least three things: According to rule utilitarians, a a specific action is morally justified if it conforms to a justified moral rule; and b a moral rule is justified if its inclusion into our moral code would create more utility than other possible rules or no rule at all.

Rule-utilitarianism -- The principle of utility is used to determine the validity of rules of conduct moral principles. This is a partialist rule because it not only allows but actually requires parents to devote more time, energy, and other resources to their own children than to others.

Mar 24,  · This essay – or post if you wish – is intended as a concise exploration of utilitarianism, one of many ethical movements within the world of moral philosophy. Utilitarianism, by John Stuart Mill, is an essay written to provide support for the value of utilitarianism as a moral theory, and to respond to misconceptions about it.

Mill defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the. - Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory. An action is right or wrong based on its consequences.

John Stuart Mill was an important philosopher in developing the idea of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism Ethics Ethics essay – Utilitarianism Explain the main differences between the utilitarianism of Bentham and that of Mill.

The History of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that looks at the concept of `utility`, or the usefulness of actions. Two of the most famous Utilitarians were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill; Bentham was the first to introduce the theory, and his views were more.

The Greater Good; an Essay on Utilitarianism

Ethical Theory. Prentice Hall, Chapter In a series of essays, Goodin argues that utilitarianism is the best philosophy for public decision-making even if it fails as an ethic for personal aspects of life. Derek Parfit.

In a challenging essay, Lyons raises doubts about whether there is any coherent version of utilitarianism. The Ethical Theory Of Utilitarianism Essay - Zohra Javid Professor Taylor PHIL 31 October Second Reaction Paper o Consider the ethical theory of utilitarianism as discussed in chapters 7 and 8 of The Elements of Moral Philosophy.

The ethical theory of utilitarianism philosophy essay
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