Basic idea of utilitarianism
Act Utilitarians may follow certain rules of thumb heuristics to save time or cost although, if the consequences can be calculated relatively clearly, exactly and easily, then such rules of thumb can be ignored, and the choice treated on a case by case basis.
Utilitarians are, by definition, hedonists. Bradley, Francis H.
Utilitarianism: Overall View Utilitarianism is a philosophical view or theory about how we should evaluate a wide range of things that involve choices that people face. Three prominent concepts in moral thought that critics cite are justice, rights, and desert. For example, the lives of masters were more important than slaves; the well-being of a king was more important than that of a peasant. The point is whether it is fair to punish people for actions which they could not control. One reason for adopting foreseeable consequence utilitarianism is that it seems unfair to say that the rescuer acted wrongly because the rescuer could not foresee the future bad effects of saving the drowning person. Rule Utilitarians may agree that there are some general exception rules that allow the breaking of other rules if this increases happiness e. Robert Goodin. It says that we can produce more beneficial results by following rules than by always performing individual actions whose results are as beneficial as possible. Continue Reading. Problems: What's the evidence that people well aquainted with both higher and lower pleasures prefer the former? More specific rules that require stopping at lights, forbid going faster than 30 miles per hour, or prohibit driving while drunk do not give drivers the discretion to judge what is best to do. In all probability, it was not a distinction that Mill was particularly trying to make and so the evidence in his writing is inevitably mixed.
This explains why the question whether Mill is a utilitarian is more serious than it may appear on first inspection see Coope In moral philosophy the appeal to intuitions plays a prominent role.
Consequentialism and Its Critics.
Would such a ban be morally justified? Negative Utilitarianism requires us to promote the least amount of evil or harm, or to prevent the greatest amount of suffering, for the greatest number as opposed to the general, or positive, Utilitiarian rule of the greatest amount of good for the greatest number.
The three cases just discussed show why act utilitarianism undermines trust but rule utilitarianism does not. Criticisms[ edit ] Because utilitarianism is not a single theory but a cluster of related theories that have been developed over two hundred years, criticisms can be made for different reasons and have different targets. Once the rules are determined, compliance with these rules provides the standard for evaluating individual actions. Had Hitler drowned, millions of other people might have been saved from suffering and death between and Hare ,  Peter Singer  and Richard Brandt. This has led to scholarly debates about whether the classical utilitarians supported act utilitarians or rule utilitarians or some combination of these views. In the last chapter of Utilitarianism, Mill concludes that justice, as a classifying factor of our actions being just or unjust is one of the certain moral requirements, and when the requirements are all regarded collectively, they are viewed as greater according to this scale of "social utility" as Mill puts it. Hence, other things being equal, people in need should be satisfied before people with no need. But this is absurd. Fatalism advocates a completely different thesis. The same reasoning applies equally to the case of the judge. By this I mean the principle that, in deciding what is good and what is bad for a given individual, the ultimate criterion can only be his own wants and his own preferences.
Oedipus is destined to kill his father and marry his mother and his desperate attempts to avoid his foretold fate are in vain. The desire to change oneself resides, for Mill, in the individual, thus in our selves.
Thus, we value beauty because it is pleasurable to behold.
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