Rule and Act Utilitrianism

Topics: Utilitarianism, Ethics, Morality Pages: 3 (1064 words) Published: September 15, 2011
Ethics for Healthcare Professionals
Mill’s Utilitarianism

Question. Explain rule utilitarianism. How does it differ from act utilitarianism? Do you think that Mill is a rule utilitarian or act utilitarianism?

John Stuart Mill was one of the greatest philosophers of the 19th century. Mill was best renowned for his idea of “Utilitarianism.” Utilitarianism originated from an ethical principle under Jeremy Bentham, who theorized an action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Mill revised the concept of utility and has brought forth “the Greatest Happiness Principle. Utilitarianism as a whole is considered to be any moral theory corresponding to which an action is right in and only if it conforms to the principle of utility, or productiveness. Utilitarianism represents an extension into moral theory of an experimental, scientific mode of reasoning because it involves the calculation of causal consequences. According to Bentham, an action conforms to the principle of utility if and only if its performance will be more productive of pleasure or happiness, or more preventive of pain or unhappiness, than any alternative. The well being of individuals is the standard of determining what's right and wrong and the consequences of an action. There are different forms of Utilitarianism, two of which are act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism.

Act utilitarianism is the belief that it is the right action that brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. It is a concept that believes that the morality of an action is determined by its usefulness to most of the people that this act is in accordance with the moral rules since it brings greater good or happiness. Also, act utilitarianism measures the consequences of a single act. Act utilitarianism is the view that the principle of utility should be used to morally evaluate individual acts. Rule utilitarianism on the other hand is the belief that an action...
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