Ethical Criticism In Bernard Williams's Utilitarianism

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Bernard Williams, co-author of Utilitarianism: For and Against, presents a powerful and constant critique on utilitarian ideals, assumptions and arguments. He finds that the poor theory of action stated by utilitarianism, fails to interact with the real problems of moral and political philosophy at a crucial level that is needed. As well as, fails to make sense of notions such as integrity, or even human happiness itself. Considering what John Stuart Mill presented in his essay regarding utilitarianism, Mills would instruct Jim to do what would cause the ‘most amount of happiness’. Since the majority of the protesters is crying out to kill one to save the rest, Mill would suggest that, “that action are morally right only if and because they …show more content…
In one case concerning Kant’s deontological theory, David Hume questions if the reason doesn’t motivate the moral action. Hume goes on to say that we need to have an ambition or a temperament to want to do the right action, even if we know that it 's the right action. In fact, for Hume, first we need a drive or the desire to do something, then we look for a reason to fulfill that need. In A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume states that a "reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them." (Hume). An opposing theory/criticism concerning Mill’s utilitarianism theory is negative responsibility. According to Utilitarianism, you are morally responsible for: (a) the things you could have done to maximize happiness, but didn 't do; (b) the things that you could have done to prevent others from doing something that could decrease their overall happiness; as well as for: (c) what you actually do to increase happiness. In utilitarianism, one is responsible for not only themselves, but as well as the happiness of the people around them. Utilitarianism is an unreasonably troublesome theory. A person needs or may need to give up a lot, if not majority, of things that they may in enjoy, in order to do the moral or the right …show more content…
The reason being is that Mill’s utilitarianism theory has too many flaws regarding what true happiness is. In essence, one must think of the next person before they can think of themselves as listed in the ‘moral laws’. However, that is not going to allow our own happiness to maximize completely, because that is not what happiness means to this culture or generation. Considering that, the people should not be morally responsible for another person’s happiness. Utilitarianism gives a person too much pressure to live up to. Kant’s deontological has its flaws as well, but it is more rational in his thinking. Kant’s view highlights the importance of rationality, impartiality, consistency, and respecting the way we live our own lives,

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