Essay on Utilitarianism As A Political Theory

855 Words May 6th, 2016 4 Pages

Paragraph 1: Introduction
• Utilitarianism as a political theory o ‘Morally right act/policy is that which procedures the greatest happiness’ (Kymlicka 2002, p. 10)
• Best way to determine morally right act/policy:
• Consequences produced from ones actions – ‘consequentialism’
• Encourages maximizing this overall good
• Can be viewed as an exhaustive moral theory o Will focus on utilitarianism as a ‘political morality’
• Outline of essay

Paragraph 2: Overview of utilitarianism
• Utilitarianism as a political theory in depth o Main concerns: happiness, welfare, well-being
• Development of the political theory o Classical Utilitarians include Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill
• Focusing on Mill:
• Emphasizes that utilitarianism has had an enormous influence in shaping moral doctrines o Helped develop a consensus on what principles concepts ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are based on (Mill 2007, p. 7, 37)
• Enforces impartiality and agent-neutrality o Everyone’s happiness counts the same
• “Greatest Happiness Principle” (Mill 2007, p. 14, 90)
• Distinct feature of utilitarianism – ‘consequentialism’ o Emphasizes that ‘right actions’ are best understood by the consequences of such acts
• Therefore he who condemns something as morally wrong must show who is wronged and how they have been wronged
• Distinguish between aesthetic criticisms and moral criticisms o Stipulated that customs/and or authorities be tested against human improvement (Goldman 1980, p. 346)
• Two…

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