Utilitarianism Vs Duty Ethics Essay

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There are two major ethical theories that attempt to define and justify our moral rules and principles. These theories are called: utilitarianism and duty ethics. The Utilitarianism view is that the morally right thing to do is the one that produces the most good; quantity over quality. The Utilitarian belief is that the right action is understood entirely in terms of consequences produced. On the other hand, duty ethics are concerned with what people do and not with the consequences of their actions. Both of these theories are widely recognized and utilized. However, the view that I want to adopt, and the view that I believe I live by, is duty ethics.
Utilitarianism is a view that was adopted by John Stuart Mill. This is a view that goes by “the greatest good for the greatest number.” This means that the more people who are happy and can benefit from a certain action is the morally right thing to do. Happiness, in utilitarianism, comes from pleasure and the absence of pain, and unhappiness comes from the deprivation of pleasure which then would equal pain. The utilitarian approach to morality insinuates that no moral act or rule is essentially right or wrong. Instead, the rightness or wrongness of either an act or rule, is entirely a matter of the overall nonmoral good (pleasure, happiness, satisfaction of individual desire) produced in the consequences of doing that act or following that rule. In a nutshell, morality is a means to an end, but it is not an end in itself. Despite the popularity of utilitarianism, I believe there are many problems within it.
One problem with utilitarianism is that it leads to an "end justifies the means" way of thinking. However, it is known that the ends do not necessarily just...

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...rder to protect a child (kill, lie, manipulate, etc). On the other hand, one of the characters, Patrick, did not adopt this view. His view was more of Kant's view; there's right and wrong, no in-between. In one part of the movie Patrick kills a child molester/murderer. After he did it, he felt really bad and guilty about it. However, the other characters were happy and rejoiced of his actions because he killed someone who only did harm in the world and not good. Kant would say that Patrick killing the child molester was not justified and what he did was wrong. I believe what he did was wrong as well, but I cannot say I wouldn't have done the same thing. It is really hard for either of these views to be adopted universally, but I agree more with duty ethics. I cannot say I live 100% by it, but the majority of my actions match those of duty ethics.
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