Consequences Of Act Utilitarianism

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Utilitarianism is centered around the idea that the right action is the one that promotes the most utility, otherwise known as happiness. Because of this, utilitarianism is grounded in the foundational value of happiness. All instrumental values derive their worth from foundational values; therefore, anything that promotes happiness is valuable. Foundational values can explain other prescriptive claims or value claims. Under utilitarianism, any claims that are correctly made are those that are grounded in happiness and promote the most utility.
Utilitarianism is an approach to ethics that states that utility, also known as happiness, is inherently desirable. It examines the consequences of actions rather than the act itself, and maintains
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The choice of an action is made by determining which choice will lead to the consequence with the most utility. Because it examines choices so closely, act utilitarianism applies to specific situations, as the consequences of an action can differ depending on the circumstances regarding a situation. The morally right act is therefore entirely dependent on the circumstances and not an outside rule or law. In order to best examine the consequences of an action, act utilitarianism considers the scope, duration, intensity, and probability an act will cause. The scope emphasizes how many individuals are affected by the action; the greater the number of individuals affected, the greater the scope. The duration measures how long those individuals will be affected by the action. The consequences of an action can also differ in their intensity, such as one choice leading to mild injury and another choice leading to death. Additionally, an act utilitarian must examine the probability a possible consequence will occur. Act utilitarianism must consider all four of these aspects and the choices involved when calculating the overall utility of an …show more content…
There are no rules that will work for every circumstance, and to strictly abide by said rules can often lead to less utility than that which would have been gained by making the “morally incorrect” choice. Rule utilitarianism is less about ensuring the most utility for the most numbers and more about convincing yourself that you made the morally right choice simply because you followed all of the rules and therefore could not have done any better. Act utilitarian proves that this is inherently wrong. Not every situation is the same and therefore cannot be treated the same. Instead of following a set of oversimplified rules, act utilitarianism examines a specific situation so that the morally correct choice is the one catered to that circumstance. By analyzing various factors such as scope, duration, intensity, and probability, the choice made will be the best one suited for that situation and will therefore have the consequence with the greatest utility. Although some may argue that these many calculations lead act utilitarianism to be impractical, that is not true. It is not as if a person has to carry around a notepad to calculate these factors to the minute detail - oftentimes these calculations can be done quickly, as they reflect our moral intuitions. Knowing that your choice will affect several people is not something you have to deliberate for hours about. It is because of this that

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