Module 2 Written Assignment
SUNY Empire State Summer 2010
Answer the following questions:
1. Shaw and Barry distinguish two different forms of utilitarianism. What are these two forms? Briefly describe each.
Act and Rule Unitarianism is the two forms that Shaw and Barry discuss.
Act utilitarianism is the belief that it is the right action that brings the greatest contentment to the greatest number of people. It is an idea that believes that the morality of an action is determined by its usefulness to most of the people that this act is in accordance with the moral rules since it brings greater good or happiness.
Rule utilitarianism on the other hand is the principle that an action can be morally right if it conforms to the rules that will direct to the greatest good or happiness. It adheres to the belief that the rightness of an action is determined by the rightness of its rules and that if the right rule is followed, the greatest good or happiness is achieved. It is an idea that believes that following the rules does not constantly produce the greatest good, however not following it will not produce the greatest good either. In actuality rule utilitarianism can become act utilitarianism because when breaking a rule produces a greater good, a sub rule can be made to handle exceptions. (Shaw, Barry, 21010, pgs. 80-82).
An example of Act utilitarianism can be seen with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan during World War We knew the Japanese were working on a comparable bomb that could have been used on us. We determined it would be to our benefit to drop a bomb first. In doing this we were able to save millions of Americans. This is an example of greater good for the greatest amount of people.
2. What do economists mean by the "declining marginal utility of money"? Economist define declining marginal utility of money as the following a utility is a definitions used to explain how much value something has or how much pleasure you may get from a good or service. Marginal utility means you may get added value and or happiness resulting from one additional unit of a good or service. Mainly goods and services are said to have “decreasing marginal utility.” (Shaw, Barry, 2010, pg. 121). Example
For instance someone offers you a donut. You accept.
Then they offer you another donut. You are less excited but say all right Then they offer you the third donut and you could not possibly eat it. Each of the donuts provide less happiness as is seen in most goods and services
3.Robert Nozick presents his entitlement theory as a function of three basic principles. What are these three basic principles? Robert Nozick entitlement theory has the following three basic principles. 1. A principle of justice in acquisition - This principle deals with the initial acquirement of holdings. It is an account of how people first come to own common property and what types of items can be held. 2. A principle of justice in transfer - This principle explains how one person can acquire holdings from another, including voluntary exchange and gifts. 3. A principle of rectification of injustice - how to deal with holdings that are unfairly acquired or transferred, whether and how much victims can be compensated, how to deal with long-ago transgressions or injustices done by a government. Nozick believes that if we lived in a world that was just only the first two principles would be needed. (Shaw, Barry, 2010, pgs 123-124). Example: The justification of a “free market economics” as opposed to government regulated markets or central control such as was found in the former soviet bloc states.
4.Two main features of John Rawls's theory of distributive justice are particularly important. What are these two features? Describe them. John Rawls' theory of distributive justice has two main features being The Liberty Principle and The Difference...