Utilitarianism is concerned only with the happiness of the community and not that of the individual. How far do you agree?
Utilitarianism by definition is the greatest happiness for the greatest number, therefore a community of people would most likely gain priority over an individual. If a positive act were to benefit a family of people and the opposite act would benefit a single being, the positive one would be what Bentham would encourage as it would have the best results for a larger amount of people. However, an immoral act such as gang rape which is arguably something that could never be justified, would be deemed ‘acceptable’ according to act utilitarianism as the majority of people involved would be happy, leaving only the insignificant minority unhappy. Whether Utilitarianism is only concerned with the happiness of the community can be argued with the Hedonic Calculus. Factors such as fecundity, intensity and duration are probably the factors that mostly disagree with the statement. If a woman were gang raped, although the pleasure of the criminals would be larger than that of the victim, the continuity of the pain the victim would feel would be much longer than the pleasure of the rapists. A lifetime of pain would make the victim rate more highly in this section of the calculus. The intensity of the pain would heavily outweigh the pleasure of the rapists and the duration would also be much longer for the victim. The Hedonic Calculus would seem to support the community over the individual in certain, less extreme cases, but in situations such as rape, the moral choice is always the right one, no matter how many people are involved. Although an immoral act will always be immoral according to rule utilitarianism, despite how many people are involved due to higher and lower pleasures. The potential of happiness within a community of people compared to a person on their own is so much greater and gives the community power over the individual as their...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document