Ethical Utilitarianism

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Finally, Ethical Universalism [utilitarianism] is a theory expounded by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) that the ethically right thing to do is the action that produces most utility/ benefits than other acts. Under Utilitarianism, individuals do not merely look to their own pleasure, but are concerned with maximizing pleasure for all [“greatest happiness for the greatest number” principle] including future generations. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Bentham’s disciple, modified the theory by recognizing different human characteristics rather than placing equal values on ‘pleasures’ as goals. The basic idea of Utilitarianism is “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” …show more content…
Even if the most of the noblest form i.e. universalism is used, often it is hard to identify all consequences in advance. Refer to this example: Stephen is part of a four-person mining expedition. There is a cave-in and the four of them are trapped in the mine. A rock has crushed the legs of one of his crew members and he will die without medical attention. He’s established radio contact with the rescue team and learned it will be thirty-six hours before the first drill can reach the space he is trapped in. He is able to calculate that this space has just enough oxygen for three people to survive for thirty-six hours, but definitely not enough for four people. The only way to save the other crew members is to refuse medical aid to the injured crew member so that there will be just enough oxygen for the rest of the crew to survive. Under Utilitarianism, the action that provides more benefit to the greater number would be the right thing to do. So following that, they would opt for the latter so that three crew members could at least survive out of the four, but would it be justifiable to let the injured crew member to die? Also, it is hard to measure consequences (Mausio, 2015). Not all cost/benefits can be predicted or translated into money easily. Presumably, consequentialism works best in situations without strong moral, ethical, or religious facets (James,

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