Classical Utilitarianism Analysis

725 Words 3 Pages
According to the ideology of Classical Utilitarianism, humans have the moral obligation to choose their actions based off what will result in the most net happiness. Happiness and unhappiness in this ideology is based off subjective experience in terms of emotion and bodily sensation. Therefore, happiness corresponds to a pleasant experience while unhappiness corresponds to an unpleasant experience. Classical Utilitarianism relies on the Greatest Happiness Principle, which states that the right action is the action that produces the greatest net happiness of all available actions. James Rachels introduces three main commitments for this ideology of Classical Utilitarianism: consequentialism, hedonism, and impartiality.
The goal of the first
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This means that for an action to be considered good (causing happiness) or bad (causing unhappiness) it must have some sort of consequence which will result in happiness or unhappiness. According to hedonism the right action is the action that will result in the greatest net happiness of all available actions. Hedonism also establishes that net happiness is equal to net value, which is total happiness minus total unhappiness.
The third commitment of Classical Utilitarianism is impartiality, which states that everyone’s interests matter equally. Someone’s interests are things that will make their lives better. Impartiality applies to your own interests as well, meaning that your own interests should not have a greater weight than anyone else’s. Other implications of impartiality include the insinuation that your family of friends’ interests do not matter more than anyone else’s and that the interests of people who belong to one group do not matter more than the interests of individuals who belong to a different
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Take, for example, the action of donating money to charity: the more money you donate, the more happiness that will result for those in need. Therefore, you should donate the most amount of money you can to meet the highest net value possible. Technically, according to the ideology of Classical Utilitarianism, the right action is to donate all the money you have to charity. Although this is not in your interests, it is the best interest for the people being helped by the charity you are donating to. Because impartiality means that your own interests should not outweigh those of others when making choices, it would be morally wrong for you to not donate all your money to charity when given the chance. It is not reasonable for a person to donate all of their money to charity for the greater good of others, because they would then not be able to support themselves and will potentially end up dependent on the charity of others as

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