Since “all action is for the sake of some end”, actions and their consequences are inseparable. The doctrine holds that the consequences of actions outweigh in significance the nature of the actions. Therefore, no action is considered wrong according to Utilitarianism as long as it maximizes happiness, even if the action is morally wrong in its nature. The doctrine appears to encourage actions that contradict common sense morality, the body of moral rules accepted by society. This impression raises an objection to Utilitarianism saying it promotes unjust, evil actions.
Morality as a whole tries to create a distinction between right and wrong, good and bad. Making decisions should arguably always be aimed towards good. Under the philosophical doctrine of Utilitarianism, philosophers like Bentham and Mill recognize that human kind should make their lives useful and good through bringing about happiness or pleasure. The idea of the “Greatest Happiness Principle was introduced by Bentham, who was a Utilitarian predecessor to Mill. According to Mill, human lives should abide by the “Greatest Happiness Principle.” This principle states that actions are good as they tend to promote happiness; and bad as they promote the reverse of happiness, therefore humans should make a conscious choice of action that will lead
One good way to think about is that this theory is a form of consequentialism. The right action is understood basically in terms of consequences produced. The utilitarian view is one thought to maximize the overall good; that good being the good of others as well as the good of ones self. Utilitarianism is also not partial. Everybody 's happiness counts the same.
Utilitarianism is a theory which states that the purpose of morality is to achieve maximal goodness in a society. It is consequentialist rather than deontological in that the moral value of ethical decisions are to be judged in terms of their effects, rather than the intrinsic properties of the acts themselves. Those effects are deemed good which generate the most pleasure or happiness, or which minimize overall pain. There are two classical types of utilitarianism which will be under our consideration: act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism. Two objections to utilitarianism will be examined, as well as Louis Pojman’s responses to those objections in Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong.
By Mill changing Bentham’s definition of utilitarianism he allowed the measurement of what is considered to be a good decision to have a more personal affect. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism. It is a moral theory that allows a person to look at all of the possible outcomes and choose the outcome that they believe will bring about the most happiness to the most amount of people. This means that the moral theory is not black and white like other moral theories, for example, Kantism. This moral theory relies on the person deciding on the outcome that is the best for the situation (“Utilitarianism”).
Mills responds to this objection by explaining how secondary moral reasoning and the fundamental principle of morality are taken into account when deciding what promotes the most overall happiness. After explaining his argument, I believe Mill succeeds in responding to the objection, he explains why it shouldn’t be a problem when weighing the best possible outcome by using the secondary moral rule as the first principle. According to Mill, there are several elements to the principle of utility. First, it allows people to choose the action that promotes the most happiness. As stated, Mill believes that an action is right if it promotes happiness and an action is wrong if it promotes pain.
As Stephen J. Freeman explains, consequentialism is the belief that "actions and/or rules are right as long as they produce the most favorable consequences for those affected by the actions or rules" (Freeman 63). Consequentialists view the morality of a consequence in two aspects. One aspect is what is called ethical egoism. Ethical egoism is "the idea that morality is defined as acting in one's own interest and in such a way as to maximize the consequences of good over bad" (Freeman 49). In contrast to ethical egoism is utilitarianism.
Virtue presents humans with identification for morals, and for Aristotle, we choose to have “right” morals. Aristotle defines humans by nature to be dishonored when making a wrong decision. Thus, if one choses to act upon pleasure, like John Stuart Mill states, for happiness, one may choose the wrong means of doing so. Happiness is a choice made rationally among many pickings to reach this state of mind. Happiness should not be a way to “win” in the end but a way to develop a well-behaved, principled reputation.
Theory Description Ethical egoism is a normative ethical position that focuses morally right action that promotes the individual own self interest. It states that actions whose consequences will benefit the doer can be considered as ethical. It differs from psychological egoism in that because ethical egoism says we ought to be selfish while psychological states we should be selfish (Frankena, 1973. 18). The theory in itself says we are hard-wired to be selfish and focus on what type of actions promote use and is self serving.
Consequentialist ethical theory suggests that right and wrong are the consequences of our actions. It is only the consequences that determine whether our actions are right or wrong. Standard consequentialism is a form of consequentialism that is discussed the most. It states that “the morally right action for an agent to perform is the one that has the best consequences or that results in the most good.” It means that an action is morally correct if it has little to no negative consequences, or the one that has the most positive results. A consequentialist will assess both the positive and negative effects of an action before taking it.