Pros and Cons of Utilitarianism

Topics: Ethics, Morality, John Stuart Mill Pages: 4 (1087 words) Published: December 20, 2006
Pros and Cons of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a philosophy in which the ends justify the means, or in which the morality of an action is determined by the function that follows the action. Although Utilitarianism has many good principals that are both logical and appealing, the contradictions of the philosophy make it incompatible with Christian ethics. The moral standards that utilitarianism is supposedly based on only work when a person doesn't consider the personal emotions that might hinder or get in the way of what the end result of the action is. The function may not be changed or diverted according to the philosophy. It also cannot change when someone does not think about the bigger picture in perspective to the function.

On the surface the logic used by utilitarians such as John Stuart Mill, is easy to agree with as it appears to be based on common sense. But this logic is flawed. The Principle of Utility is the core of utilitarianism. Its main point is that the "right choice results in the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people." (Longtin, 63) This seems like a good principle, but when you examine it at a deeper level, this point is not sensible or morally correct. The hidden dilemma is when you take into account the personal feelings of the person who part of your decision. But Mills philosophy says that everyone should look upon a decision from the viewpoint of someone on the outside with no connections to the decision emotionally or physically. To make the decision as though it would bring more happiness to others if pain were only brought upon on a few. A few people to take away the pain of many.

Kirkwood 2
This line of thinking brings up the point of emotion interfering with a decision as this is a natural thing to do because we are human and we all have a conscience. Our conscience helps us to do what is right or what we think is right. Also this inhibits us from doing so if personal emotion gets in the way of...
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