An analysis of utilitarianism

There are a number of reasons for its appeal. Moorewriting insaid: In such a world, what is to stop us from murdering each other, going as far as to push humankind off the brink of extinction?

Mill thought that any sanction provided by a transcendental view of the origin of obligation is available to the utilitarian doctrine. Harsanyi achieves this by claiming that such preferences partially exclude those people from the moral community: According to Mill, one calculates what is right by comparing the consequences of all relevant agents of alternative rules for a particular circumstance.

Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

Many adherents to this ethical system are looking for a way to live a moral life apart from the Bible and a belief in God.

But as we will see in the next section, we do not always know how to define love, and we do not always know what will happen in the long run. The end never justifies the means. Mill's argument comprises five chapters. Mill anticipates the objection that people desire other things such as virtue.

Throughout the s and s, articles were published both for and against the new form of utilitarianism, and through this debate the theory we now call rule utilitarianism was created. Third, most people already use a form of utilitarianism in their daily decisions. In such a case the sheriff, if he were an extreme utilitarian, would appear to be committed to framing the Negro.

But really, can and should murder be justified in some situations? His first chapter serves as an introduction to the essay.

Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

A fourth problem with utilitarianism is that consequences themselves must be judged. Hence, in a way, utilitarianism does account for god, the Judeo-Christian god at least. This faculty can arise spontaneously in some circumstances as well as benefit from proper environmental cultivation.

Intuitionists admit that principles rather than the details of morality get intuited.


Situation ethics also permits us to do evil to achieve good. While Bentham used the calculus in a quantitative sense, Mill used this calculus in a qualitative sense.

Utilitarianism Summary

He believed, for example, that some pleasures were of higher quality than others. The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it Communism which soared in the 20th century might be the closest we have come to a utilitarian idea.

It is evident that while most humans do not wish to bring about harm to their fellow man, they do not place the happiness of their fellow man above their own. Theoretically speaking dictators might not last as longs, and may lose their sense of immunity, if their regime and lives could be cut short, for the betterment of the society.

Second, utilitarianism avoids the need to appeal to divine revelation. Were the offence considered only under this point of view, it would not be easy to assign any good reasons to justify the rigour of the laws.

All that matters is that the happiness produced outweighs the pain. The situation does not determine what is right or wrong. In EthicsMoore rejected a purely hedonistic utilitarianism and argued that there is a range of values that might be maximized.

No other universal laws can be derived from this commandment to love. Another virtue, I suggest, of utilitarianism is that is very flexible and simple. The former are those "manifested by his observed behaviour, including preferences possibly based on erroneous factual beliefs[ clarification needed ], or on careless logical analysis, or on strong emotions that at the moment greatly hinder rational choice" whereas the latter are "the preferences he would have if he had all the relevant factual information, always reasoned with the greatest possible care, and were in a state of mind most conducive to rational choice.

How is happiness defined? For a sense of contrast, consider that the Bible has laws. The means must be judged by some objective and consistent standard of morality. Analysis of Situation Ethics Perhaps the biggest problem with situation ethics is that the law of love is too general.Analysis of Utilitarianism.

Why did utilitarianism become popular?

Utilitarianism Analysis

There are a number of reasons for its appeal. First, it is a relatively simple ethical system to apply. To determine whether an action is moral you merely have to calculate the good and bad consequences that will result from a particular action. If the good outweighs the bad. Utilitarianism is a theory of how basic human moral sentiments are translated into moral action; Mill's point in this first section is simply to make that sentiment relation apparent, and to emphasize that analysis of sentiment cannot be divorced from considerations of action.

On a utilitarian analysis, this is perfectly acceptable because one death is preferable to many. The same kind of thinking might have justified the use of atomic weapons in World War II.

Assuming the choice was between “x” number of deaths as a result of dropping atomic bombs and “4x” number of deaths as a result of a land invasion of Japan by American troops, the utilitarian choice was clear.

Summary. 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 reverse of happiness.".

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF UTLITARIANISM Oluwatosin Adekanye A Critical Analysis of Utilitarianism Regardless of debate as to the origin of ethics - are they innate or are they learned, are they God given or are they manmade constructs - the fact that ethics are invaluable to.

Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics, or the ethics that define the morality of actions, as proposed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

It is defined by utility, the existence of.

An analysis of utilitarianism
Rated 4/5 based on 57 review