utilitarian view on abortion

Topics: Utilitarianism, Immanuel Kant, Morality Pages: 1 (593 words) Published: October 23, 2014

Examine how utilitarian arguments might be applied to one issue of your choice? ACT UTILITARIANISM Act Utilitarian theories start with specific cases from which general principles can be deduced. Bentham’s Hedonic Calculus weighs up the following measures of the consequential pleasure/pain: CertaintyDurationExtentIntensityRemotenessRichnessPurity

Situation 1 – Abortion would be morally right if the mother’s life is in danger. The period of the pain of the loss of the mother will be ongoing, the extent of the effects of the abortion will be widespread as family and friends will suffer from the loss of the baby, and the intensity of the pain of the death of a mother with a family to support is high therefore in this situation abortion would be permitted. Situation 2 – Abortion would be wrong if the mother simply wants an abortion for a personal gain for example working towards getting a promotion and not wanting to be forced to take maternity leave. The duration of pleasure brought by the baby is greater than the duration of pleasure brought by the promotion, the extent of the effects is widespread because the family want the baby, and the pleasure is more intense to those who want the baby than the mother’s promotion. RULE UTILITARIANISM (DEONTOLOGICAL, TELEOLOGICAL)

PREFERENCE UTILITARIANISM (RELATIVE, TELEOLOGICAL)For Preference Utilitarians such as Peter Singer, the moral course of action is the one that results in the most preference satisfaction. It could be argued that foetuses don’t have preferences but women do; thus abortion is morally permissible in any situation. KANTIAN ETHICS (ABSOULUTE, DONTOLOGICAL SINCE DEON = DUTY)Applying Kant’s Categorical Imperative to abortion: 1) The Universal LawAll moral statements should be both universalisable (applied to all people in a situations) and willed to be universalised. If they are not universalisable then they are contradictions in the Law of Nature, and if they cannot be willed to be universalised they...
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