Utilitarianism Essay

1242 words - 5 pages

The main pros to utilitarianism deduced from the literature include the following three points. First off, there is the fact that maximizing happiness in society is obviously making people happier on the whole, and there is not a whole lot of arguing that can be done to shed bad light onto that point. Secondly, fulfilling one's own sense of duty makes society more like a brotherhood of peers with common interests. And lastly, if all people are working towards a common goal, they will function as a smoothly flowing unit instead of a confusing mess of people with different agendas.When the maximum amount of people in a community are experiencing pleasure rather than pain, these citizens will be essentially reaching the goal that they strive for in "˜ordinary life.' Since pleasure is the fundamental object of desire, how can objections be raised to a way of life that brings about a constant flow of this often-elusive commodity? According to Mill, the ultimate sanction is our feeling of being "˜members of a society.' By contributing to the ascertaining of happiness for the community as a whole, an individual must be at the pinnacle of this ultimate sanction. Take, for example, a player on a basketball team. When this player sinks a last second shot to win the game, she has instantly gained a higher level of acceptance among the people in her community simply because she contributed to the happiness of the group. This makes utilitarianism a much more appealing concept.With all people working towards the common goal of mutual happiness, there will be much more cohesion within the community, producing a much smoother and more efficient society. Plus, if everyone knows that the fellow citizens are out to make everyone happy, there will be a higher level of trust and brotherhood in the community.Opposite of the pros lies the cons of utilitarianism. These include general moral faults, discrimination against the minority, and putting others' interests above one's own desires. These simple characteristics succeed in shedding negative light upon this happiness maximizing philosophy.First of all, utilitarianism brings with it many situations that include moral faults. These come about when the good of the community supercedes the happiness, and sometimes even the personal rights, of one or more individuals. According to utilitarianism, if a certain action will make more people happy than the number of people that will be harmed by the action, one should go through with the act. How is this justifiable? Knowingly causing harm to people for the good of others should not be commended or encouraged! This brings me to my next point. In utilitarianism, the happiness of the majority takes priority over that of the minority. That is like saying that the interest of one group is more important than another's just because the smaller group is outnumbered. I don't see any difference between that and racial prejudice against minorities in our current day and...

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