Essay on Objections to Utilitarianism

1456 Words Nov 14th, 2012 6 Pages
OBJECTIONS TO UTIILITARIANISM

SECTION (1) INTRODUCTION

We noted, last week, that UTILITARIANISM is a version of CONSEQUENTIALISM in that it holds that the RIGHT action (in any given situation) is the action WHICH HAS THE WHICH HAS THE BEST CONSEQUENCES;

CONSEQUENTIALIST ethical theories may be contrasted with DEONTOLOGICAL – or DUTY-BASED theories (such as Kant’s) Now, some ( but not all) deontological theories are versions of ABSOLUTISM - i.e the doctrine that some actions are so wicked
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(2) The Fat Man and the School Outing (3) Jim and the Indians (Singer,85).

SECTION (3) OTHER OBJECTIONS Many people who are not Absolutists still object to Utilitarianism on the grounds of its Consequentialism. `Granted’ – they would say, `that it is morally good to create happiness and morally bad to create unhappiness, it does not follow that the production of happiness is the ONLY criterion which determines whether an action is Right or wrong. What about Justice, Honesty, Integrity – aren’t these moral virtues in their own right?’ Here are some examples to illustrate this general objection. (1) Promise keeping.You should keep a promise,just because you made it in the first place.It follows that you ought to keep a promise to a dying man EVEN IF you could spread more happiness by breaking it.(Smart disagrees;Singer 80) (2)Telling the truth. You should tell the truth, in many (if not all) cases, EVEN IF you would cause less unhappiness by lying (cf.cases of terminal illness) (3) Punishing the innocent. It is morally wrong to punish someone known to be innocent; and this is morally wrong EVEN IF framing an innocent person is the only way of avoiding

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