Ethics and Utilitarianism

Topics: Ethics, Utilitarianism, Morality Pages: 3 (1026 words) Published: February 25, 2011
What is Utilitarianism? Utilitarianism is an ethical framework for effective moral action. It’s a philosophical concept that holds an action to be held right if it tends to promote happiness for the greatest number of people. The essence of utilitarianism is in its concept of pleasure and pain. It defines the morally right actions as those actions that maximize pleasure or happiness and minimize pain or evil. Utilitarianism is all about making the right choices that will consequently promote the greatest amount of happiness. It can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, but the name most frequently associated with utilitarianism is that of Jeremy Bentham. According to utilitarianism, we should evaluate an action by looking at is consequences, weighing the good effects against the bad effects on all the people affected by it. If the good outweighs the bad, it tends to be a good action; if the bad outweigh the good, it tends to be a bad action. (DeGeorge 45) Ethical principles and theories are the foundations of ethical analysis because bring significant characteristics to the decision-making process. Every single theory shows different points such as predicting the outcome and following one's duties to others in order to reach an ethical decision. But an ethical theory can only to be useful if the theory is directed towards a common set of goals. Ethical principles are the common goals that each theory tries to achieve in order to be successful. These goals include beneficence, least harm, respect for autonomy and justice. Using utilitarianism in ethical business practice would consider the good and bad consequence for everyone the action would affect, treat everybody as having equal rights, with no bias towards self, and would use it as an objective, quantitative way to make a moral decision. Utilitarianism should be employed in all business decision-making process to maximize effects and minimize...

Cited: DeGeorge, Richard T. Business Ethics. 7th Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 2010
“Applying Utilitarianism to Business Ethics: The Ford Pinto Case." Annie Lundy February 6, 2009
“Utilitarianism.” Henry R. West. n.d.
“Calculating Consequences: The Utilitarian Approach to Ethics.” Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez. n.d.
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