Preview
Preview

Utilitarianism in Crime and Punishment Essay

:: 5 Works Cited
Length: 1878 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Utilitarianism in Crime and Punishment

 
    Raskolnikov's mathematical evaluation of the moral dilemma presented to

him in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment exemplifies the empirical view of

utilitarianism.  Utilitarianism attempts to distinguish between right and wrong

by measuring a decision based on its calculated worth.  Raskolnikov appears to

employ the fundamentals of utilitarianism by pitting the negative consequences

of murdering his old landlady against the positive benefits that her money would

bestow onto society.  However, a true follower of utilitarianism would be

outraged at Raskolnikov's claim that murdering the old woman can be considered

morally right. Raskolnikov arbitrarily leaves out some necessary considerations

in his moral "equation" that do not adhere to utilitarianism.  A utilitarian

would argue that Raskolnikov has not reached an acceptable solution because he

has not accurately solved the problem.  On the other hand, a non-utilitarian

would reject even the notion of deliberating about the act of murder in such a

mathematical manner.  He might contend that Raskolnikov's reasoning, and the

entire theory of utilitarianism, cannot be used to judge morality because it

rejects individual rights and contains no moral absolutes.

 

      A utilitarian bases his belief upon two principles:  the theory of right

actions and the theory of value.  These two principles work together and serve

as criteria for whether or not a utilitarian can deem an action morally right.

First, the theory of right action argues that the morally right decision is the

one whose consequences are at least as good as any other availa...


... middle of paper ...


...

 

Gibson, A Boyce. The Religion of Dostoyevsky. Philadelphia: Westmenster Press,

1973.

Monas, Sidney, trans. Crime and Punishment. By Fyodor Dostoyevsky. New York:

Penguin, 1968.

 

Morsm, Gary Saul. "How to Read. Crime and Punishment." Commentary 1992 June, 93

(6):   49-53.

 

Rosenshield, Gary "The Realization of the Collective Self: The Birth of

Religious Autobiography in Dostoevski's Zapiski iz Mertvogo Doma." Slavic Review

1991 Summer 50 (2): 317-27.

 

Panichas, George A. "The World of Dostoyevsky." Modern Age 22: 346-57

 

Mann, Robert. "Elijah the Prophet in Crime and Punishment." Canadian Slavonic

Papers 1981 Sept 23 (3): 261-72.

 

Yancey, Phillip. "Be Ye Perfect, More or Less: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and the

impossible Sermon on the Mount." Christianity Today 17 July 1991: 38-41.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Exposing Nihilism in Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky Essay - A paragon of realist literature, Fyodor Dostoevsky deftly exposes nihilism in his novel, Crime and Punishment, published in 1866. Its protagonist, Rodion Raskolnikov, is intelligent yet bitter and unfeeling, having denounced his morality and bonds with society. He embodies the qualities of nihilism, the desertion of all emotional and ethical concerns. This philosophical doctrine is historically ubiquitous, particularly with the Nihilist Movement, one of Imperial Russia’s Great Reforms, and the growing apostasy and atheism of postmodernity; both instances aptly highlight the abandonment of virtue, individual and societal....   [tags: utilitarianism, ethics, society]
:: 1 Works Cited
1719 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Religion as Societal Conformity in Crime and Punishment Essay - The central theme of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky deals with conformity’s role in society. Dostoyevsky uses conformity to make Raskolnikov mentally ill and eventually turn himself in to face the punishment for his crimes. Religion influences every character in the book, but none more ardently than Raskolnikov. Understanding religion’s role as a force for conformity in Crime and Punishment provides a powerful insight into character motives and, furthermore, philosophical influences....   [tags: Crime and Punishment Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1045 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Utilitarianism and Retributivism Views of Capital Punishment Essay - The court handles all cases with extreme seriousness; however, different cases are handled differently. For instance, murder cases have different pre-trial procedures to be followed as compared to a case like violation of traffic rules. This paper outlines philosophers’ view of punishment and how the County District Court Division handles capital punishment. To begin with, punishment is an act that involves intentional infliction of agony or misery to a person for wrong doing, with the aim of correction....   [tags: Capital Punishment, Death Penalty]
:: 2 Works Cited
665 words
(1.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Harsh Reality: Crime and Punishment Essay - ... The conflict was between the new generation, the Nihilists or “New People”, and their parent’s generation. In response to the Crimean War of the 1850’s, The New People blatantly defied the regime and sought to subvert the Tsarist monarchy, aristocracy, and Eastern Orthodox Church. They rejected all conventions in an effort to transform society. The Nihilists “advocated a social arrangement based on rationalism and materialism as the sole source of knowledge and individual freedom as the highest goal” (Pratt 1)....   [tags: Dostoevsky novels, great Russian literature]
:: 10 Works Cited
1912 words
(5.5 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay Is Capital Punishment Ethical? - Capital punishment is a difficult subject for a lot of people because many question whether or not it is ethical to kill a convicted criminal. In order to critically analyze whether or not it is ethical, I will look at the issue using a utilitarianism approach because in order to get a good grasp of this topic we need to look at how the decision will impact us in the future. The utilitarianism approach will help us to examine this issue and see what some of the consequences are with this topic of capital punishment....   [tags: Utilitarianism Analysis of Death Penalty] 2399 words
(6.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Varying Rationales and Ethical Frameworks for Punishment - What would the criminal justice system be without punishment. Perhaps, the criminal justice system would not serve a function or cease to exist. Punishment is one of the main facets of the criminal justice system. It holds such significance that it even reflects the beliefs and values of a particular society. Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) once said “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” (Pollock, 2010: 315). Punishment has been around since the beginning of civilization....   [tags: Criminal Justice System, Punishment] 2126 words
(6.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Utilitarianism in Government - In its political philosophy utilitarianism provides an alternative to theories of natural law and the social contract by basing the authority of government and the sanctity of individual rights upon their utility, or measure of happiness gained. As an egalitarian doctrine, where everyone’s happiness counts equally, the rational, relatively straightforward nature of utilitarianism offers an attractive model for democratic government. It offers practical methods for deciding the morally right course of action - “...an action is right as it tends to promote happiness, wrong as it tends to diminish it, for the party whose interests are in question” (Bentham, 1780)....   [tags: Government]
:: 1 Works Cited
1664 words
(4.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Crime and Punishment: A Reflection of Fyodor Dostoevsky Essay - Crime and Punishment: A Reflection of Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment is one of the most well-known pieces of literature written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was written during a time of turmoil, when Dostoevsky’s wife and brother died and he was burdened with debts, which was made worse by his excessive drinking and gambling. As a result, Crime and Punishment reflects much of the author’s inner psyche, showing much of what the author thought of the world around him. In the book, Raskolnikov’s situation is not unlike Dostoevsky’s....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Book Review, Author]
:: 1 Works Cited
1267 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Kant and Mill’s Positions on Capital Punishment - Capital punishment is most commonly known as the death penalty or punishment by death for a crime. It is a highly controversial topic and many people and great thinkers alike have debated about it. Two well-known figures are Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. Although both stand in favor of capital punishment, their reasons for coming to this conclusion are completely different. I personally stand against capital punishment, but my own personal view on it incorporates a few mixed elements from both individuals as well as my own personal insight....   [tags: Capital Punishment, Death Penalty]
:: 3 Works Cited
1862 words
(5.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Themes in the Opening Passage of Crime and Punishment Essay - Themes in the Opening Passage of Crime and Punishment What important themes, characters, atmosphere and images are set out in the first chapter of Part one of Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment' . From the very first word of this extraordinary piece of literature, the thoughts and transgressions of Raskolnikov penetrates the heart and mind of the reader with exceptional insight, skillfully constructed suspense plots and a dynamic, autonomous hero. It is true to state that 'Crime and Punishment' had a profound influence on the modern intellectual climate, sparking off a wave of existentialist writings, and it is not difficult to discover why....   [tags: Papers] 1034 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]