The Pros and Cons of Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is one of the most popular ethical ideologies in the world. It argues that the main purpose of human behavior is to achieve happiness. The main proponent of this theory was John Stuart Mill, who was a British philosopher in the 19th century.
2. What is utilitarianism?
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best course of action is the one that maximizes utility. Utility is defined as the well-being of individuals. Therefore, utilitarianism suggests that the morally right course of action is the one that leads to the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.
3. The history of utilitarianism:
Utilitarianism has its roots in ancient Greece and Rome. The first major proponent of utilitarianism was Epicurus, who argued that pleasure was the only good and pain was the only bad thing. In the 18th century, British philosopher Jeremy Bentham developed this idea further and formulated what is now known as act utilitarianism. This version of utilitarianism suggests that each individual should be evaluated based on their own individual utility.
4. The main principles of utilitarianism:
There are two main principles of utilitarianism:
The first principle is the principle of utility, which states that actions should be judged based on their consequences. The second principle is the principle of impartiality, which suggests that everyone should be treated equally and fairly, regardless of their personal characteristics or situation.
5. The advantages of utilitarianism:
There are several advantages to utilitarianism. First, it takes into account the well-being of all individuals, not just a small group or elite. Second, it is a flexible theory that can be applied to a wide range of ethical issues. Third, it provides a clear and objective way to make ethical decisions. Finally, it has been used to justify a number of important social reforms, such as the abolition of slavery and Jim Crow laws.
6. The disadvantages of utilitarianism:
There are also some disadvantages to utilitarianism. First, it can lead to “the tyranny of the majority,” where a small group imposing their will on a larger group in order to maximize utility. Second, it can justify harmful or distasteful actions if they lead to greater happiness for more people (e.g., sacrificing a few individuals for the greater good). Third, it does not take into account personal preferences or feelings (e.g., if I would rather die than live in a world where torture is legal).
7. The criticisms of utilitarianism:
Cite this assignment
More Related papers
- The Relationship Between Democracy and Political Talk
- The Importance of the Whitebark Pine Tree Species to Animals and the Threat Posed by Blister Rust
- The difficulties of practising chastity in the modern world
- The Main Branches of Philosophy: An Overview
- A Comparison of the Themes, Characters and Messages in "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Catch Me If You Can"