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Paper Topic:

What is utilitarianism? Explain what you take to be the two most important objections to utilitarianism. What are the best utilitarian replies to these objections? Do the replies succeed in showing that utilitarianism (perhaps in a modified form) is a pla




[University] Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which explains that the morality of an act is dependent on the amount of utility that an action can produce (Rachels Rachels , 2006 . Among the most notable Utilitarian advocates are John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham . For Mill , utilitarianism is equivalent to the greatest happiness principle which entails that am action is right when it tend to promote the greatest good for the greatest number (and tend to minimize the harm and suffering that an action can

produce . On the other hand , Bentham suggests that the amount of pleasure or happiness can be calculated using his proposed hedonistic calculus which is drawn by calculating the difference between the pleasure and the pain

Nevertheless , Utilitarianism has also been subject for ethical debate which is primarily founded on the idea that the utilitarian principle tend to promote only the utility that an action can give even and disregarding the bad outcomes that it can inflict to others

This is mainly directed on the issue that questions the moral upbringing of the Utilitarian principle

Two Objections against Utilitarianism

One of the very celebrated opponents of the Utilitarian theory is Immanuel Kant 's Duty Theory . Unlike Utilitarianism , The Kantian Ethics suggests that the morality of an act should not be based on the amount of utility that an action can produce but on the very fact that an acting agent has done his duty unconditionally (Rachels Rachels 2006

The most apparent criticism against the Utilitarian principle is that it only looks on the consequences that an action can inflict to the majority of the people . By this , we can deduce that Utilitarianism lacks concern on the part of the minority (Rachels Rachels , 2006 . Plus , it does not always the case that what is good for the majority is the right thing to do . In considering the human rights of the individuals , it is inappropriate to say that what is beneficial for the promotion of the rights of the minority should be overridden by what is beneficial for the promotion of the rights of the majority . Such idea would never be just and fair

The second objection against the utilitarian principle is that it directly goes against what the Kantian 's second maxim suggests which suggests that one must never treat others only as means for his ends but always as the end (Rachels Rachels , 2006 . This entails that one should not sacrifice the rights of or what is necessary for another person just to give way for the greatest happiness that the greatest number of people can obtain

However , Utilitarian advocates argued that such presuppositions or objections that are raised against the theory itself do not really touches the truest essence of the Utilitarian principle . The utilitarian principle 's concept of happiness and pleasure does not really suggest the suffering of the minority . The concept of happiness is not really equated with the pleasure or happiness that can be derived from...

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