Utilitarianism: a Thought Investigation Into the Strive for Equality. Essay 1.

Topics: Utilitarianism, Hedonism, Utility Pages: 4 (1042 words) Published: August 29, 2013
A thought investigation
into the strive for equality.

Utilitarianism is a consequentialist philosophy, where motives and actions are disregarded and only the end result is accounted for (Rachels 2009). Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that is based on the idea that the proper course of action is the one that maximises the quantified ‘utility’. Utility is the unit of measurement that to describes the benefit individuals can gain from an action. Utilitarianism argues that the greater the utility, the greater benefit to society. (Racheals 2009). Rachels’ claims that there are three characteristics of Utilitarianism: 1. Only consequences matter

2. Only the happiness of unhappiness of consequences matter 3. Strict impartiality is required in decision making

Classic Utilitarianism, based upon philosophers Bentham and Mill claim that utility should be measured Hedonistically. According to the classical theorists pleasure is the only intrinsic good (Daniels 2013). Later thought leaders have discussed that individual preference satisfaction should be maximised, given that individual experiences shape preferences. To contextualise hedonist utility maximisation, one can imagine a scenario where a global corporation made anti-depressants, however, the factory conditions are poor and their workers are on average, depressed. Every 100 units of anti depressants made cause 100 people to gain pleasure. For every 100 units made, 20 workers become depressed. Therefore, there is a net pleasure increase of 80 individuals. A classical Utilitarian would argue that making those 80 individuals happy is more important than the 20 workers pleasure.

After long deliberation on Classic Utilitarianism, twenty- first century philosophers found classic utilitarianism to be is riddled with flaws, and as such the moral agent should use either 1) Act, or 2) Rule Utilitarianism (Daniels 2013). Rule Utilitarianism holds that one should always follow...
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