Examine the key principles of utilitarianism

Fullscreen Examine the strengths of Utilitarianism as a means of resolving moral dilemmas 21 Marks Utilitarianism is a teleological theory as it aims to bring about a greater good, the theory views at what the ethical action is aimed at bringing about as appose to deontological theory which focuses on the intrinsic rightness or wrongness of actions. Utilitarianism is also a relative theory, meaning the goodness of an action is dependent on the circumstances because there are no fixed moral principles. The belief that actions are always corrects if they are useful or benefit the majority of a group. It is the belief that any action is accurate if it promotes happiness for the greatest happiness of the greatest number, this should be followed when guiding the principle of handling.

Examine the key principles of utilitarianism

I had to study and evaluate the work of two philosophers named Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant. These two philosophers examined the nature of morality a long time ago and they formed two different theories of moral philosophy.

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Bentham formed the consequentialist utilitarian theory which evaluates the moral rightness of a decision based on its outcome, while Kant formed the deontological moral duty theory which evaluates the moral rightness of an action no matter what the consequence.

Wolff Jeremy Bentham is primarily known today for his principle of utilitarianism, which evaluates actions based on their consequences. Bentham defines utility as the property in any object that tends to produce benefit, good, pleasure or happiness or averts the happenings of pain and unhappiness to the party where interest is considered.

Hence, utilitarianism bases its understanding of right action based on consequences.

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Bentham reminds us that it is crucial to move from the total pleasure and pain experienced by one person to the total pleasure or pain experienced by all members of the community taken together.

Wolff On the other hand, Kant proposes that only duty and rules should govern our actions, as consequences are beyond our control. To Kant, the only good thing in the universe is good will.

The question I have is, how do we know what it means to be good, and how do we encourage a good will? There are ten dying patients in a small clinic in a village who have a rare blood disease and they urgently need blood transfusions from a healthy individual with blood type O.

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Now, the doctor is faced with two options; he can either kill the healthy individual to save the other ten dying patients, or allow the ten dying patients to die and let the healthy individual live. In this situation, what is the doctor morally obliged to do? Conversely, before Kant decides if killing the healthy individual is moral or immoral, he would consider if killing the healthy individual will respect the goals of humanity.

He would want us to act in such a way that we treat humanity, whether in our own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never just as a means.


Therefore, the doctor would not be morally justified in killing the patient. In the example above, it can be said that the Kantian response seems intuitively right as killing the healthy individual just because he can save ten other lives violates the goals of humanity.

Furthermore, in real life, no doctor would want to take on the responsibility of killing an innocent person, regardless of whether they would save the lives of ten other patients.

Your very close family friend and neighbor, Mr. Tan, who is Chinese, has lost his home due to a bombing and he and his family have come to ask if they can stay with you for a week.

You agreed to house him for a week and all seems to be going well until one day you find out that the Japanese soldiers have a clue that there is a slight chance that Mr. Tan and his family might be living with you. They have come to your home to look for Mr.

Tan and his family. If the soldiers find out that Mr. Tan is living with you, they will arrest him and possibly separate him from his family forever. They might even cause potential harm to his family.

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The question then is, what are you morally obliged to do? In this situation, you have two options; you can either lie to the Japanese soldiers saying you have no idea where Mr. Tan and his family are residing, or you can admit that indeed — they are living with you.

Bentham would say that you should not tell the Japanese soldiers that Mr. Tan and his family are living with you because that action does not produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

Additionally, by lying, you will save Mr.

Examine the key principles of utilitarianism

Conversely, as Kant views the ethical value of an act based on the cause behind the action, rather than the result that is achieved by the action, Kant would say that lying to the Japanese soldiers in any circumstance is wrong, even if it means jeopardizing Mr.

In other words, the consequence of your action does not matter, all that matters is that the act of lying is wrong, and therefore you should not lie. In the example above, it can be said that the utilitarianism answer seems intuitively right because there is no reason why you should be honest to the Japanese soldiers, as their only motive is to harm Mr.

My opinion is that lying is acceptable when protects yourself or others from potential harm. If someone was holding a knife to your neck, asking you if your favorite color was red, and if you know for a fact that saying yes would save your life, even though your favorite color is purple, would you tell the truth?

I would lie, because I value my life more. While lying is generally immoral, as with any other general concept, there are always exceptions. The definition of happiness is subjective and different for everyone.In contrast to utilitarianism, which is open to a variety of configurations because of its reliance on facts rather than moral ideals, justice as fairness ensures that the interests of all are protected by embedding moral ideals into its principles.

Mill's four essays, 'On Liberty', 'Utilitarianism', 'Considerations on Representative Government', and 'The Subjection of Women' examine the most central issues that face liberal democratic regimes - whether in the nineteenth century or the pfmlures.coms: 2.

Outline the key features of utilitarianism ( words) This theory of utilitarianism was defined by Jeremy Bentham. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory which means that moral actions are evaluated by the consequences or outcomes of the action. In this lesson, we'll examine the two major types of utilitarianism - act and rule - and explain how each one can be applied to ethical situations in the business world.

Briefly: Mill's Utilitarianism is a summarized version of John Stuart Mill's original treatise, which is designed to assist university and sixth-form students in acquiring knowledge and understanding of this key .

Examine the key features of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is an ethical philosophy which focuses on pleasure, and decides wether an act is morally right if it brings pleasure to the majority of people involved.

A Critical Analysis of Utilitarianism | Tosin Adekanye - pfmlures.com