John Stuart Mill Act Utilitarianism

Improved Essays
Since the beginning of time philosophers have concerned themselves with the question of morality: what is morally right or wrong? How are these moral truths known to be so? A well-known proposal to answer this moral dilemma is the notion of Utilitarianism as presented by John Stuart Mill, in Exploring Ethics. Utilitarianism attempts to solve all questions of morality by presenting criteria that must be met in every situation at all times for a decision to be the morally right thing to do. Through utilitarianism, Mill hypothesizes a philosophy that is theoretically applicable to every universal moral issue. Utility can be defined as a principle in which a decision is considered morally right when that decision promotes the greatest amount of …show more content…
Act Utilitarianism is that moral theory discussed previously in which a single decision is considered morally right on the grounds that a morally right decision will promote the most universal happiness. Rule Utilitarianism judges the morality of a set of rules, then holding that a decision that is derived from that predetermined set of rules that promotes the most overall happiness as any other alternative is the morally right decision. Because this set of rules that increases happiness most is adopted beforehand according to Rule Utilitarianism, the implication of the impossibility of accurately judging every possible decision and its corresponding effect on happiness is …show more content…
It is also undoubtfully nearly impossible for an individual to judge the moral consequences of an action as relating to every person said action will affect. This inability can be attributed to humans’ lacking quality of omniscience. However, I do agree with the stance on morality of Rule Utilitarianism. Rule Utilitarianism eliminates the immense amount of pressure placed on humans by Act Utilitarianism. The inherent nature of man is selfish: children must be taught to share and consider the feelings of others; they must be taught to be self-aware. This is because of an evolutionary concept: man, in his natural state, thinks of his own needs first. Rule Utilitarianism then permits for this disposition in that it provides a set of rules that is determined before any situations arise. This allows one to be fully aware of the decision which is morally right. A morally wrong decision can then not be attributed to misinformation or lack of omniscience as may be the case with Act Utilitarianism. I do think that Rule Utilitarianism adequately addresses all moral factors. Despite discrepancies between Act and Rule Utilitarianism, Utilitarianism continues to be a renowned moral theory, widely

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Act Utilitarianism

    • 1234 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Act utilitarianisms claim that when we are determining what to do, we should achieve the act that will establish the greatest net worth. In their perspective, the principle of unity is to do whatever will create the best overall outcome. The theory ought to be handled in certain acts to specific situations. The appropriate action in any circumstance is the one that produces more benefits and well being, than any other circumstance. A term used by act utilitarianisms is optimific, which means “to yield the greatest balance of benefits over the drawbacks.” (Shafer-Landau.…

    • 1234 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Kant's Moral Theory Essay

    • 910 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Also, generally speaking, an act based on utilitarianism should bring about the most happiness out of all other alternative acts. Specifically, rule utilitarianism brings about the idea that one should act according to a set of rules that would lead to the most optimal consequences and is deemed by a majority to be acceptable. In contrary, Kant believed that one’s actions should be based on the purity of the will and not based on consequences at…

    • 910 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Utilitarianism is the most well-known consequentialist theory which are theories that hold the idea that actions are right or right according to the balance of their good and bad consequences (354). Utilitarianism states that we are morally obligated to act in ways that bring the best consequences. Following that idea you become morally responsible for all the actions that you did not do, but could have in order to maximize happiness, all the actions you performed in which you prevented others from doing that decrease overall happiness as well as what actions you ideally perform to maximize happiness. For all of the reasons above the Utilitarian theory is too demanding of an individual. With utilitarianism, one is always supposed to be thinking…

    • 1281 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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.…

    • 1232 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Utilitarians are of the mindset that one should do that which will produce the most happiness. Utilitarianism derives from consequentialism, which bears the perception that the action producing the best consequences should be done. Utilitarians value the overall utility involved in maximizing happiness in…

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In short, the utilitarian theory argues that the moral action is the one that brings about the best state of affairs. The best state of affairs is the state of affairs that consists of the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Mill’s utilitarian theory is heavily influenced by Jeremy Bentham’s ideas on the same topic. However, Mill’s writings on utilitarianism attempt to understand what he calls “higher” pleasures and work to resolve complex problems that Bentham’s theory…

    • 1442 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Therefore, the categorical imperative is considered the right thing to do because the action commanded by it is led by reason rather than desire. Due to its nature, the CI is not subjectively binding and it does not simply apply to one individual. Returning to the original definition of the categorical imperative, one must also consider the apodictic principle. This principle describes how the action is attained and bound by…

    • 1228 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Kant developed what is called the categorical imperative to test if one’s action is in accordance with moral law. To use the categorical imperative, one must propose an action, for example, being honest. Next, the proposed action is put into a statement or maxim. The proposed action then develops into “I will always be honest”. From this, one imagines a world where this maxim is followed by everyone.…

    • 736 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that was proposed by John Stuart Mill and he claims that all actions become right or wrong depending on their real-world material consequences. That being said, no matter what the consequences are, they would be considered morally right as long as it promotes general happiness. Basically, the action does not matter when dealing with Utilitarianism, only the outcome, whether or not the ends justify the means. There are two kinds of utilitarianism; Act Utilitarianism and Rule Utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism is that each and every individual action should aim to directly promote good while decreasing harms.…

    • 925 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Morally good act are consequence in the fulfillment of happiness in people. Both philosopher are appealing to a consequence of the first principle and to the end of duties, Kant considers the consequence of maxim becoming a universal law of nature, and Mill consequence of his principle is a certain kind of action (ex, lying). In also pursuing happiness in the absence of pain. All human should be good in doing the right thing act in accordance to the maxim and in such way to produce the greatest amount of happiness for everyone affected by our acts in accordance to virtue by treating people like their…

    • 992 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays