Slides in this set
· Claims that actions are right or wrong REGARDLESS of the consequences.
· E.g., killing is wrong, even if it saves many more lives.
· Therefore, there are certain rules that we HAVE to follow in order to be
· Is the idea that there are certain moral rules, for example, do not kill, that
MUST be followed in ALL situations.
· I.e., it is NEVER right to kill. This is an ABSOLUTE.…read more
· A utilitarian approach to morality implies that no moral act (e.g., an act of stealing) or rule (e.g.,
"Keep your promises") is INTRINSICALLY right or wrong. The Result or the Consequence of an act
is the real measure of whether it is good or bad.
· Rather, the rightness or wrongness of an act or rule is solely a matter of the overall good (e.g.,
pleasure, happiness, health, knowledge, or satisfaction of individual desire) produced in the
CONSEQUENCES of doing that act or following that rule.
· In sum, according to utilitarianism, morality is a matter of the GOOD PRODUCED that results
from moral actions and rules, and moral duty is instrumental, not intrinsic.
· Morality is a means to some other end; it is in no way an end in itself.
· One main problem is that utilitarianism, if adopted, justifies as morally appropriate things that
are clearly IMMORAL. For example, utilitarianism can be used to justify punishing an innocent
man or enslaving a small group of people if such acts produce a maximization of consequences.
But these acts are clearly immoral regardless of how fruitful they might be for the greatest
UTILITARIANISM JEREMY BENTHAM
· Bentham's theory of Utilitarianism was formulated on the basis of his
concern for the social conditions of his day rather than by a desire to
create a moral theory as such.
· His principle was to "maximise general welfare or collective welfare,
utility" not only for individuals but also for society "the greatest
happiness for the greatest number."
· He believed that it would be possible to judge the good or evil in a
particular action according to the CONSEQUENCES of the action.…read more