Utilitarian Ethics: act and rule
Definition of Act Utilitarian
The goal of an act utilitarian is to maximize a person’s overall happiness in the universe. With an act utilitarian the goal will be to “Maximize pleasure and minimize pain” (Waller, 2005, p.49). An act utilitarian says that people could do that and they would not only make everyone happier but they would also be doing what is morally right. An act utilitarian doesn’t have conflicts over any action being right or wrong. Example of Act Utilitarian
A coach of a kid’s basketball has to play each kid every game. At the same time the coach would like to win all the games to get to the championship. But there are two kids that have no idea how to play. In order to make him happy as well as play every kid he decides to put the two kids in when the game is out of reach and they are winning big before he puts them it. This will make the kids happy because they are all playing and he will be in the championship. Definition of Rule Utilitarian
Rule utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism which states that moral actions are those which conform to the rules which lead to the greatest good, or that "judge rightness or wrongness of an act by the typical or usual consequences of doing that kind of act” (Utilitarism para.8). For a rule utilitarian the consequences of a rule are determined by the amount of good it brings about when followed. In contrast, act utilitarian’s judge actions in terms of the goodness of their consequences without reference to rules of action. Example of Rule Utilitarian
Think of a situation of a man and his pregnant girlfriend driving down the street. She suddenly goes into labor when her water breaks. The contractions are close at about 2 minutes apart. It is 4am on a Friday night. The vehicle is 2 miles from the hospital. There are no other cars around. The Rule Utilitarian would think if you were as a rule to break the law and go through that red light...