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Utilitarianism

By Missmoo1994 Sep 17, 2013 672 Words
Utilitarianism:
“Actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” John Stuart Mill utilitarianism, 1863 Utilitarians founder Jeremy Bentham has a famous formulation that is know as the “greatest-happiness principle”. The definition of this is “the ethical principle that an action is right in so far as it promotes the greatest happiness of the greatest number of those affected”.

Central Beliefs:
There are seven thoughts guiding them.
These are
1.They want to think about the future
2.They want to leave the part of land they live on the same or even better than before 3. They want a better world where everyone is happy and think if themselves on how to make themselves happy and also how to make other people happy 4.They want right and wrong to be a bit easier. They do not want list to rule their lives. They say that if the Ten Commandments should only be obeyed if it increases their happiness and if they don’t they will not obey them 5.They do not want to talk to much about whether certain prefences are better than others eg. Opera vs. mud wrestling, or homosexuality vs. heterosexuality. 6.They will think of their own happiness, but other people’s happiness counts greatly. They would sacrifice their own happiness if they have to make someone else happy. 7.Do not limit their thinking to human ‘people’. Seek for a happier world where the satisfied preferences of humans and animals are maximised.

“Utilitarianism is a way of facing moral issues without God” Gene Edward Veith, JNR. “Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can’t” Aldous Huxley

Objections that has being raised. Which have Christian roots

1.Utilitarianism can be unjust
2.Can be irresponsible
3.Can miscalculate
4.Can become shortsighted
5.Can lose their ‘integrity’
6.Can be self-deceiving
7.Consequentialism destroys trust
8.Can be cruel and empty

Consequentialism is rejected outright. These limits include such things as:

1.Christian Fellowships must not be damage (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) 2. Certain lifestyles are always wrong (1 Corinthians 6:9-10,18) 3.Sneaky methods of evangelism are unacceptable (2 Corinthians 4:2,6:3) 4.Worship of false gods is never an option (1 Corinthians 10:14; 2 Corinthians 6:16) 5.Truth must never be violated (2 Corinthians 13:8)

‘Utilitarianism is a teleological or consequentialist moral theory, holding that rightness of actions is a function of the consequences, “ the greatest good for the greatest number.”’

There are many types of utilitarianism here are some
1.Hedonistic- “advocating the maximization of pleasure and avoidance of pain.” 2.G.E Moore’s agathistic utilitarianism, ‘promoting but refusing to anyalyze “the good” 3.Eudaimonistic utilitarianism, “maximizing happiness.” 4.Rule utilitarianism “concerns itself with general moral rules that you should follow when making decisions.” 5.Act utilitarianism or Case utilitarianism, “requires each case to be taken individually and appropriate calculations made for each one of them.” 6.Two-level utilitarianism, “Level one is using Rule Utilitarianism (based on our intuitions) because it is efficient (in both time and effect). Level two however is using Act Utilitarianism when a situation requires more thought and more critical reflection.”

Their have a calculus in order to objectively calculate the more moral action in a given situation.

The calculus requires you to calculate and rank the following 7 criteria out of a maximum value 1.Intensity – “how much happiness will result out of the action.” 2.Certainty – “what is the likelihood that the pleasure will actually arise.” 3.Duration – “how long will the pleasure last for.”

4.Purity – “what is the probability that any resulting pain will lead to more pain?” 5. Extent – “how many people will the pleasure affect?” 6. Fecundity – “what is the probability that any resulting pleasure will lead to even more pleasure?” 7.Propinquity – “how far off is the pleasure?”

[6. and 7. were added by later philosophers]

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