Critically Discuss Utilitarianism As An Ethical Theory. What Are The Problems That Confront Utiliatarianism As A Theory Of Public Policy?

2637 words - 11 pages

Utilitarianism is a version of moral philosophy, initiated by Jeremy Bentham and refined and popularized by John Stuart Mill, which, true to its etymology, is concerned above all with the usefulness of human activity. Utilitarianism has been one of the most influential of ethical theories, and the one most widely used in ordinary 'common-sense' decisions. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) argued that an action should be judged, not simply on the happiness it appeared to offer the person who performed it, but according to its ability to benefit everyone involved. He thought that everyone's interests should be considered equally, 'each to count as one and no one as more than one' , and did not consider one form of happiness to be more important than another form of happiness.The reference, however, is more specifically to the utility and usefulness of human actions to produce happiness, which comes to be equated with pleasure or the satisfaction of desires. Though typical of modern man's mentality, such a philosophy is not unique to modern times. Epicureanism had something similar to say in ancient Greece. Based on these presuppositions, the utilitarians make the guiding principle of ethics the maximization of happiness. Therefore, the actions which will produce the greatest happiness of the greatest number are the right ones to be done and those which produce pain are to be avoided or in other words "everyone should perform that act or follow that moral rule that will bring about the greatest good (or happiness) for everyone concerned." Almost from the start, many obvious difficulties were encountered by its adherents, which have led to continuous revisions. These different versions of the theory have resulted in other names being given to it, such as 'consequentialism' and 'proportionalism', but the continual revisions can still be grouped under the heading of utilitarianism . This is so because in this system of thought, rightness and 'wrongness' depend on the benefits and consequences an action produces. The notion that actions can be intrinsically good or bad and that the principles of such goodness or badness are self-evident in man has been discarded. This is so because in this system of thought, rightness and 'wrongness' depend on the benefits and consequences an action produces. The notion that actions can be intrinsically good or bad and that the principles of such goodness or badness are self-evident in man has been discarded.Utilitarianism is the practice of calculating the greatest good for the greatest number, according to the greatest happiness principle. The Greatest Happiness Principle is, in its founder's own words, as follows, actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong if they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure. It is important to note that Mill does not regard "happiness" as the sensual...

Find Another Essay On Critically Discuss Utilitarianism as an Ethical Theory. What are the Problems that Confront Utiliatarianism as a Theory of Public Policy?

Describe the Recognition-By-Components (Geon) theory of object recognition and discuss its strengths as a theory of object recognition

1655 words - 7 pages 5/12/2005 Describe the Recognition-By-Components (Geon) theory of object recognition and discuss its strengths as a theory of object recognitionAtkinson et al (2000) described object recognition as deciding the meaning of an object; it is described as being essential to survival, as if we do not know what an object is, we cannot react to it in an appropriate way. For example, once we realize that the object in front of us is a crocodile, we can

Unfinished theory of Utilitarianism Essay

1409 words - 6 pages unpractical to be applied as an ethical theory. This is because it demands us to be impartial in our decisions, which is an unfair burden to place on people who are self-preserving. Utilitarianism has not decided on how to satisfy the conditions of producing the most happiness overall, and how to weigh quality of utility versus quantitative utility. Lastly, this theory cannot determine between a law-abiding society with general rules for everyone and a

Discuss the use of group work theory and skills and apply to your role as a child or youth practitioner

1373 words - 6 pages rewarding to you and the young people. My experience working as a team member was very intense because we all had roles that we had to complete and reach our target for the team to be a success. One team member would have organised the activity was not only teaching the young people but we were educating. Group work is an understatement of understanding. Belbin’s role is very popular within the world many organisations are using his theory. Belbin

Critically evaluate of Internationalisation theory

671 words - 3 pages Critically evaluate of Internationalisation theoryOne of the prominent trends in the contemporary world is claimed to be globalisation. The term entails many different meanings and perspectives for global business. There are at least the four viewpoints concerning the business of internationalization: Transaction Cost Theory, Uppsala Module, Internationalisation from a Network Perspective and International Product Life Cycle Theory (IPLC

What are the problems in understanding the meaning of language? TOK - Theory of knowledge - question answer essay

683 words - 3 pages vagueness of what people say, words like ‘some’ or ‘a few’ have no true meaning other than what the one person listening interprets them as; therefore words like this are very likely to have a different meaning to everyone. Another way in which language can be understood differently is due to ambiguity, sentences that can be read differently, these different readings often having completely different meanings. An example of this is ‘Mia wanted to

Satisfied employees are more productive. Discuss this statement critically, drawing on theory and research

2182 words - 9 pages as well. Thus, when a person evaluates the satisfactory level of a job, both thinking and feeling are involved. Since years, there have been many theories behind the causes of job satisfaction, and till date there is no such theory that has been fully validated. Initial studies in this area by Straw and Ross (1985) showed that employee satisfaction has stability over time, even when the employee changes his job over time. Evidence also indicates

Satisfied employees are more productive. Discuss this statement critically, drawing on theory and research

2365 words - 10 pages things that are viewed as important.” The feeling of satisfaction is an attitude, “a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour” (Eagly and Chaiken, 1993) favour being the satisfaction the employee feels. “While in its purest form, work performance means fulfilling prescribed tasks proficiently” (Strauss, K 2013) and productivity is the act of fulfilling these tasks. Bakker

"Accounting as a discipline has no theory". Critically evaluate this statement and provide examples to illustrate your argument

1993 words - 8 pages general frame of reference for inquiring into the nature of accounting." (Hendriksen, E.S., 1977, page 1) The main objective of accounting theory is to provide a coherent set of logically derived principles that serve as a frame of reference for evaluating and developing accounting practice.I strongly do not agree with this statement, because there are some evidences could prove that there is no such an accounting theory involving a coherent set of

Ethical Theory

1248 words - 5 pages outcomes it is unclear on which action is fully justifiable and morally right. These ethical theory are not objectified with formal rules, “open to an opposing theorist to object that the rules or rights embedded in the theory are not embedded foundationally” (Lafollette, 2000, p.170) people don’t live by on theoretical views especially in this scenario as they all of the ethic can be contested. None of the ethical theory produces give a clear

Critically evaluate Porters Diamond Theory and discuss in what way it helps international trade

2076 words - 9 pages countries or regions. It also known as “Porter’s Diamond” or “Diamond Model”. Figure 1 shows that the Porter’s Diamond is about: Basically, Porter’s Diamond economic theory mentions a few factors for comparative advantage for regions or countries. Land, location, natural resurces (minerals, energy), labor and local population size are the factors of Porter’s Diamond comparative advantage. These factor endowments can hardly be influenced, this fits

Critically assess the European Union's role as the world's largest donor of development assistance, are there any ethical obligations attached to this role?

4202 words - 17 pages them against those agents who would seek to exploit them because of globalisation.In conclusion, it is difficult in a limited study such as this to exhaustively discuss the myriad of issues concerning the EU's development policy and the ethical obligations that go in hand with this. However, it is clear that the EU has an awareness of the fact that, from the every beginning the coming together of countries in such a way to form the EU was going to

Similar Essays

Critically Discuss What The Social Psychology Student Was Referring To In The Above Scenario Using A Theory Of Pro Social Behaviour As A Framework

1271 words - 5 pages any help (Vaughan and Hogg, 2005, p. 358).Critically discuss what the social psychology student was referring to in the above scenario using a theory of pro-social behaviour as a framework.The Bystander effect is regarded as a well established empirical phenomenon in social psychology (Latané B & Nida S, 1981). The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology (Reber AS, 1985) defines the bystander effect as "the phenomenon that the more people

Outline And Evaluate What You Consider To Be The Most Powerful Objection To Utilitarianism As A Moral Theory

1074 words - 4 pages endorse a repellent course of action. One standard Utilitarian argument is that Capital Punishment serves as a deterrent to committing crime. Any distress the executed suffers is mitigated by theoretical benefits to the general public. This serves as an example of how utilitarianism can be used to defend all kinds of questionable acts. Utilitarianism would accept the executed criminal even if he was innocent as the consequence remains the same, a

The Merchant Of Venice Has Been Condemned As A Racist Play, What Are The Problems That A Modern Production Faces

2106 words - 8 pages as a human and not an animal or a lower being just because of his religion.The problems a modern production faces when they set out upon this task is that the lay is so unorthodox and not politically correct and could be criticised for its use of language and the content of racism that has caused so much controversy over the years. This can lead to people not appreciating the full content of the play as much may have to be cut in order for the

Examine The Reasons Why Utilitarianism Is A Strong Ethical Theory

664 words - 3 pages (including contact details). You can rest assured that we select only the most reliable and experienced operators in each destination. Golden Tours act as an official agent for these activities, as such you are subject to the terms and conditions of the supplier.