Objections to Utilitarianism

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Darwell’s objection to Utilitarianism states that it conflicts with moral common sense in three particular case studies. The first objection to Act Utilitarianism is “promise keeping.” Act utilitarianism is inconsistent with the moral conscious, because it forward looks considerations of what one would do. The consequences of not keeping the promise may be hard to determine whether it is right or wrong. One example of Darwell’s objection to Utilitarianism of “promise keeping” is keeping promises to the dead. Suppose you made a promise to your father to carry on the family business when he passes away. You have inherited your father’s multi-million dollar business after he has died. According to act utilitarian, you can sell the company and donate all of its money to a children’s charity, since your father is dead and his happiness is no longer an issue. You have maximized happiness for many children by breaking your promise to your father and destroying the family business. But, Rule utilitarianism says to keep the promises you have made. Rules were made to maximize happiness.

The second case study is “the moral asymmetry to harm and benefit.” Acting as an act utilitarianism, harming one person to benefit two people can be compensated. Suppose there are five homeless men, and it just so happens that a rich man happens to drive by asking for directions. They can kill the rich man and steal all his luxuries, which will maximize happiness for all five of the homeless men. All would benefit from one man’s death. Rule Utilitarianism oppose against this sort of action. Rule utilitarianism would not pass such a rule to kill an innocent man to benefit others. RU dos not want to live in a society that takes from one to give to others, because it can happen to anyone.

The third objection to utilitarianism is distributive justice. Act Utilitarianism believes it does not matter how happiness is distributed, as long as it produces the same net total...
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