In the following paragraphs I am going to discuss how Jeremy Betham’s Hedonic Calculus is not a definitive process for moral decision making. Though it may be useful, I believe pleasure and pain are not what manipulate our decision making, and instead I believe it is moral and consequences that control why we make the choices in our day to day lives. The two theories I will be using in my argument are Consequentialism and Utilitarianism, as both of these support the theory that morals affect our decision making.
To begin with consequentialism is the theory that there is a rightness and wrongness of actions which is determined by a moral code, for example it is a set of rules which would have the best outcome for the one making the decision. There are two theories of consequentialism first of which is that there is a single ideal moral code for each person. The second theories is that each individual their own ideal morals, so different codes for different groups or individuals. (Previous sentences are by: Rule Consequentialism and Scope; Leonard Kahn) Using this theory, it is believed that one makes their choices on a moral code, not their pain or pleasures, which would be more logical as most make their choices based on the consequences of their actions. We are always taught that there will be consequences to our actions, making it sewn into our thought process to think on the consequences before acting, not the pain or pleasure we may experience. This is even more evidence in a situation where you have no emotional attachment, such as the trolley problem. (Trolley Problem from here onwards)
The question for the trolley problem is would y...
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...ion, eliminating moral choices, changed the influence and decision. (Who makes utilitarian judgments? The influences of emotions on utilitarian judgments; So Young Choe) Thus why when using the Trolley problem, most will not physically push a man in front of the train to save others as it would cause them emotional pain as well as personal moral dilemmas. (Trolley problems in context; Christopher Shallow).
In conclusion I believe that Bentham’s Hedonic Calculus is not a definite process for moral decision making as I believe it is a combination of morals, believes and emotions that dictate our choices. This is clearly evident in the trolley problem as many have no issue with moving a switch to save five people over one, but once they emotionally have to become involved, it changes their thought process. Thus why most will not physically push someone to save others.
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