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Ethics And Utilitarianism Essay

1395 words - 6 pages

The field of ethics in philosophy is complex, vast, and very controversial. It involves systemising, defending and reviewing concepts of right or wrong. philosophers usually divide ethics into 3 main divisions, metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Applied ethics is the branch of ethics which consists of the analysis of specific, controversial moral issues such as abortion, animal rights, or euthanasia. Normative ethics is, in the simplest form, the search for ideal rules to test proper behaviour. In relation there are several strategies used to determine the proper behaviour, one is consequentialism. According to consequentialism is that an action is determined to be right or wrong based solely on the outcome of the action; If the outcome has more positive effects than negative ones, it is believed that the action is good and vise versa. Consequentialist theories became popular in the 18th century since it was quicker to morally asses actions without dealing with gut intuitions or a long list of questionable actions. Adding to that, there are three subdivisions that emerge from consequentialism:
Ethical Egoism: an action sought to be morally right if the consequences of that action are thought to be more favorable than unfavorable only by the agent performing the action.
Ethical Altruism: an action is sought to be morally right if the consequences of that action are thought to be more favorable than unfavorable to everyone except the agent that is performing the action.
Utilitarianism: an action is sought to be morally right if the consequences of that action are thought to be more favorable than unfavorable to everyone including the agent performing the action.
All three theories are based off of the same type of thinking but all go against each other and will most likely propose different actions be taken if applied to situations. Utilitarianism is probably the best way to go since it is characterized by agent neutrality, where everyone’s happiness is equal and it would result in the greatest amount of favourable outcomes than not. The theory seems simple in form but it is quite complex.
This image is a visual representation to a utile situation, it shows how we must consider all the negative outcomes and all the positive outcomes and weigh them accordingly, if the positive outweighs the negative more than another outcome then the actions that produces that outcome is sought to be morally correct.
( meaning sum)
Jeremy Bentham define Utilitarianism by two major parts: act-utilitarianism and hedonistic utilitarianism. Act-Utilitarianism is used to measure the amount of good and bad produced by actions and hedonistic utilitarianism is used to measure the amount of pleasure and pain. Critics have claimed that there are flaws in his ways yet George Edward Moore was able to propose “ideal utilitarianism” which seemed to work quite well. He made it so that Utilitarianism is pluralistic and allowing many different...

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