Utilitarian Arguments

Topics: Utilitarianism, Ethical egoism, Psychological egoism Pages: 4 (1694 words) Published: November 7, 2012
I have always been one to side with a utilitarian’s point of view, such as Mill and Bentham. The greatest happiness of the greatest number, or as cold as it may be, sacrificing the few for the good of the many. Utilitarian moral theories evaluate the moral worth of action on the basis of happiness that is produced by an action. Whatever produces the most happiness in the most people is the moral course of action. I will give the best arguments against Utilitarianism, and show in my own opinion, why I think they are wrong. The strongest counterargument against Utilitarianism would have to be Sterling Harwood’s eleven objections to the theory. Sterling Harwood states that even he does not accept all eleven of his objections, but he merely wants to survey a large number of objections and provoke further discussion. (p. 186) Harwood’s objections are applied to all twelve versions of Utilitarianism, which are motive, act, rule, average, total, hedonistic, eudemonistic, negative, welfare, preference-satisfaction, felt-satisfaction, and ideal utilitarianism. Harwood uses most of the versions of Utilitarianism in his objections, and I will briefly introduce his eleven objections but go into detail on a few of them; the ones that I feel help show that Harwood is incorrect in his assumption to reject Utilitarianism. Harwood’s eleven objections are that Utilitarianism is overly demanding, it eliminates supererogation, it is unjust, it fails to take promises seriously enough, average and total Utilitarianism produce absurdities, rule-Utilitarianism is incoherent or redundant, Utilitarianism requires us to enter the experience machine, it wildly overstates our duties to animals, it panders to bigots and sadists, it makes interpersonal comparisons of utility, and Utilitarianism is too secretive, undemocratic, and Elitist. Harwood concludes that though he rejects some of the objections to utilitarianism, but he feels that the remaining objections...
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