Principle of Utility

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1)The Principle of Utility is the belief that when a person has a number of options in a moral situation he should chose the one that results in the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. However, the definition of happiness is up to interpretation. I feel as though people should follow this principle in certain situations. For example, if you are faced with the choice of playing videogames by yourself at home or going out to dinner with your family you should chose the latter because it would make your family members happy if you went to dinner with them as opposed to staying home to play videogames to make yourself happy. This is one example of a time when a person should follow the principle of utility, but there are many times when we should not. For instance, if you have the opportunity to kill a grumpy old man who always bothers everyone in the neighborhood and you did it, it would probably make everyone in your neighborhood happy yet it wouldn’t be right to take the man’s life regardless of how happy people would be if he “went away”. In the end, the circumstances play a large role in deciding whether or not one should follow the principle of utility.

2) I do not think this principle is a good one. While I do think it is important to help others, family and loved ones should come first. People will always consider their family and loved ones before strangers when they make a decision. No matter what all people will have a bias towards a decision that gives their family the most happiness. Even the strictest utilitarian would not kill his mother if it made the rest of the world happy. It is human nature to protect one’s family and I do not think utilitarianism will stop that trend.

5) I like the idea that people should make decisions to try and make the greatest number of people happy, but to a point. I think in everyday life you should try and make others happy as well as yourself through the decisions you make...
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