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Different Moral Theories Philosophy & the Environment 148CallenderI. Utilitarianism (Mill, Bentham; now Brandt, Sen)Utilitarianism has been the dominant ethical theory in U.S. public policy over the last 60 years, though it has been strongly attacked over the last couple of decades, primarily on the grounds that it does not give sufficient protection to the individual.Utiliatrianism is a version of Consequentialism. The latter states that one should judge an action morally by its consequences, that one should do whatever maximizes the good. An action is right if its consequences if its contribution are no worse than its alternatives' consequences. Thus an action may be right even if its consequences are very poor, so long as the alternatives are worse.What is the good? For ultilitarians, the good is welfare. What is welfare?Mental state of happiness?Satisfaction of actual preferences?Satisfaction of rational and informed preferences?An action is right if it maximizes total or average welfare.(i) scope: Consequentialist theory needs to be clear about precisely what the consequences are.(ii) axiology: Consequentialist theory needs to provide a scheme for determining the relative value of consequences. This theory of value is called an axiology. The term utility is used to refer to any kind of valued outcome (from which comes the term "utilitarianism").There are a number of different possible axiologies depending upon how we understand welfare. What they share is the assumption that acceptable axiologies will enable us not simply to make comparative evaluations between different options, but also to rank order options in terms of their utility. Both so-called hedonic and preference satisfaction axiologies assume that everyone's utility is to be weighted equally in assessing the net utility.(iii) decision rule: The decision rule tells the decision maker which option is the right one, given the valued consequences furnished by the axiology.The theory has something to say about the distribution of inequalities, it seems, even though the above principle is not itself a distributional principle. That is, the principle of declining marginal utility might allow that the 'pain' caused a rich person by taking some of his money and giving it to a poor person is offset by the 'pleasure' obtained by the poor person as a result.Worries.Can we make interpersonal comparisons of well-being?Whose welfare counts? This bears directly on the animal rights issue.Average versus total happiness? This bears directly on the population issue.Should pleasure from crime count toward the total ultility?Innocent person case; 'happy' slave society case, and so on.Utilitarianism suffers from many more concerns and difficulties than merely the above. But it remains a strong ethical theory because in principle at least one can simply calculate the right thing to do. One is given a clear guide to action (in theory) and one is also able to identify the points of dispute very...

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