The Invalidity of Utilitarianism: Persaud 1
The Invalidity of Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is implausible because it fails to realize that happiness is not the only intrinsically valuable thing and because quantifying happiness is a very difficult task to complete in real life. Utilitarianism may seem plausible in theory but it is not applicable in real life. Section one aims to explain the doctrine of utilitariansim whilst Section 2 will object to it and explain its implausibility.
Section 1: “Argument for Utilitarianism: why they believe in the Utilitarian theory”
Utilitarianism, a form of consequentialism, claims that the morality of actions depends on their effects. This doctrine is unconcerned with the process of what occurs whilst the action is being carried out or any other relative specifics. It is solely concerned about the consequences/ outcome of that action and the net amount of happiness/ pleasure it contains (the usefulness of these consequences). A core principle it follows is the Greatest Happiness Principle, which says actions are right if happiness is produced and wrong if unhappiness is produced- happiness being pleasure and the absence of pain: unhappiness being pain and absence of pleasure. You may ask “Why is happiness the focal point/ goal of utilitariansim? What does happiness have to do with morality or vice versa?”
According to utilitarians, utility (happiness) is intrinsically valuable, i.e. it is of value in itself or in its own right. Its value does not lead to something else but its own sake alone, attributing a sense of divinity to happiness. In contrast, things of instrumental value lead to other things, making those other things of intrinsic value. The utilitarian doctrine argues that our instrumental actions are only a means to an end- that end being happiness. With regards to coexisting relationship between happiness and morality, Utilitarians believe that the intention of morality is to make life better by increasing the good and decreasing the bad. Explicitly, morality exists in order for us to achieve happiness/pleasure.
The notion of instrumental and intrinsic values and the relationship they share is plausible. We do complete many activities or go through many things in our lives only as a means to something else greater. E.g. John dislikes going to the gym early in the morning but is the only time available in his busy schedule to work out. Due to health concerns, he must exercise consistently lest his health quickly worsens. Consequently, he remains consistent with exercising although he dislikes it.
Section 2: Utilitarianism is implausible because…
The underlying issue within this doctrine that I would like to point out is that utilitarianism argues that utility is the only thing that can have intrinsic value. To believe that happiness/pleasure has an exclusive and universal intrinsic value is a blatant disregard to other worthy things that people consider intrinsic, such as love, liberty, knowledge,...