Consequentialism And Act Utilitarianism

1772 Words 8 Pages
Utilitarianism, founded by Jeremy Bentham, is a moral theory that aims to identify what the right course of action in any situation is, and works to maximize the utility, or happiness, of all the stakeholders involved. There are two types of utilitarianism, Act Utilitarianism, which states that “an act is correct if it maximizes overall expected net utility,” and Rule Utilitarianism, which states that “an act is morally required if and only if it is in accordance with a rule that maximizes utility.” The scenario which we will analyze under act utilitarianism is concerning the infanticide of a young disabled girl by her parents. I will be arguing on how both act and rule utilitarianism offer different morally obligated decision, with act utilitarianism …show more content…
It is founded on two defining features. The first, Hedonism, which identifies any pleasure as ‘good,’ and any pain as ‘bad.’ The second, Consequentialism, concludes that the most important features of any moral dilemma are consequences. Therefore, pleasure combined with future consequences guides the decision-maker on the appropriate moral course of action. Of course, pleasure on its own is an ambiguous term, and act utilitarianism must take into consideration different features such as duration, intensity, and richness of the pleasure they are rewarding to any specific decision. This theory is considered forward-looking, due to its large reliance on consequentialism, stating that what you do now should take into consideration any long-term effects of that decision. Act utilitarianism works to compare outcomes, choosing the potential decision that both minimizes pain, and maximizes pleasure (Thomas, …show more content…
If Susan Roth and her husband are to follow this rule, they will be forced to change the way they live to accommodate their daughter. In time, they will most likely come to love and care for her in the way most parents do, although it will be an emotional burden to watch their fully cognizant daughter survive with her disability. If they choose not to follow this rule, they will be incarcerated for their crime, and shunned by their community. Their daughter will either live a full life (to the extent that her disability allows), which will include low moments as she struggles with her condition, and happier moments when she experiences the wonders of life itself. It is almost impossible to determine the course of her life, and whether it is worth living, which feeds into the criticism about predicting the future. If her parents do not follow the rule, she will be killed as in the scenarios above. Finally, society will remain quite similar as it is today. People with disabilities are offered resources to help them succeed in physical rehabilitation, education, sports, and other enriching life experiences. It will continue to promote tolerance among the population, emphasizing that people with disabilities are valuable. The conformance utility on this rule is high, as it is already in place, and a successful

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