Essay about Theory of Utilitarianism and the Innocent Baystander

Essay about Theory of Utilitarianism and the Innocent Baystander

Length: 1450 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The ultimate desire of humanity and the focal point of human endeavor has been that elusive beacon of life that flutters, flickers, teases but pleases only a few. That beacon of happiness is sought and hunted by all as the ultimate goal. In this essay, I will outline the theory of utilitarianism along with a very compelling objection to it, called the ‘innocent bystander’ objection. I will begin my paper by defining the ethical theory of utilitarianism, preference and hedonistic utilitarianism, lay out the innocent bystander objection and provide support. "The maximum happiness for the greatest number", linked to the philosophy of utilitarianism is lopsided and illogical in its ideology when/ if it does not take into account morality and legality of the issues it condones. The theory of utilitarianism stands faulty against the innocent bystander objection which can be proven by providing a convincing justification to the innocent bystander objection.
Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory which has been established and defended by two renowned philosophers named Jeremy Bentham and John Stewart Mill. It falls under the branch of normative ethics, which deals with a lower-level examination of ethical questions and addresses questions about what actions are morally right or wrong, and the moral correctness of actions and the standards that govern them. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory which endorses that an action is morally acceptable if it has the right kind of outcome or consequence. The intent of an action or the reasoning behind it is disregarded in utilitarianism. Happiness is simply quantified in terms of the satisfaction of a majority, independent of the beliefs of the majority or their intentions.
...


... middle of paper ...


...ism and have given a detailed argument that holds the innocent bystander objection valid against any form of utilitarianism. Through detailed examples illustrated in this essay, the readers can get a clear understanding of how a utilitarian might react in sacrificial scenarios. I have also addressed some possible counter objections to the innocent bystander objection and have provided responses to them. In the end, we must keep in mind the fact that 'happiness' is very subjective and actually is simply a series of chemical actions in the human brain. It's 'feel good' factor does not justify the objective worth it may have. Merely satiating emotions does not make 'happiness' logically just and morally right.






Works Cited

Sober, E. (2009). Core questions in philosophy: A text with readings. (5th ed., pp. 411-426). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on The Theory of Classical Utilitarialism

- In this essay, I will talk about the theory of classical utilitarianism. My objection will be about how classical utilitarianism ignores justice and moral rights, and I will argue how this can undermine the theory. I will then discuss how this theory cannot be saved from this objection. Classical utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism where actions are judged only by the consequences of the action (act based). According to Hodgson (1967), the act is only right if it was to have the best consequences for any alternative acts open to you....   [tags: utilitarialism,moral rights,consequentialism]

Powerful Essays
1029 words (2.9 pages)

The Ethical Theory Of Utilitarianism Essay

- Utilitarianism is Morally Wrong In this paper I will be explicating in depth the ethical theory of Utilitarianism. I will be analyzing the controversy surrounding the theory, as well as the related topics of consequentialism and the idea of what is intrinsically and extrinsically valuable. Utilitarianism, the idea that the best moral decision is the decision that benefits the most people, is a morally wrong ethical theory as it devalues individuals rights and freedoms for the betterment of others....   [tags: Morality, Ethics, Value theory, Utilitarianism]

Powerful Essays
807 words (2.3 pages)

The Ethical Theory Of Utilitarianism Essay examples

- Through looking at a variety of literature and arguments surrounding the death penalty, it has been shown that the topic is and still remains to be controversial. In one instance, and from the view of the retributivists, the death penalty is seen as the appropriate course of action. In another it is seen as immorally wrong and a complete disregard for human life and human rights, with the latter forming the key basis of this argument, which will now be further discussed and analysed using the ethical theory of utilitarianism....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Morality, Capital punishment]

Powerful Essays
1226 words (3.5 pages)

The Ethical Theory Of Utilitarianism Essay

- It has been shown that the topic is and still remains to be controversial. In one instance, and from the view of the retributivists, the death penalty is seen as the appropriate course of action. In another it is seen as immorally wrong and a complete disregard for human life and human rights, with the latter forming the key basis of this argument, which will now be further discussed and analysed using the ethical theory of utilitarianism. ‘’Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory that places the focus of right and wrong solely on the outcomes (consequences) of choosing one action and or policy over others (Cavalier, 1996)’’....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Morality, Ethics]

Powerful Essays
1194 words (3.4 pages)

Utilitarianism, Utilitarianism And Rule Utilitarianism Essay

- Utilitarianism is a moral theory that states that an action is considered right as long as it promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. This theory was first proposed by Jeremy Bentham and later was refined by J.S Mill. Mill differs from Bentham by introducing a qualitative view on pleasure and makes a distinction between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. John Hospers critiques utilitarianism and shows that rule utilitarianism under more specific and stricter rules would promote utility better....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Ethics, Jeremy Bentham]

Powerful Essays
1570 words (4.5 pages)

The Ethical Theory Of Utilitarianism Essay

- Zohra Javid Professor Taylor PHIL 2320 31 October 2015 Second Reaction Paper o Consider the ethical theory of utilitarianism as discussed in chapters 7 and 8 of The Elements of Moral Philosophy. A. Explain the difference between act (classical) and rule versions of utilitarianism. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each. B. Explain the drawbacks to consequentialist ethical theories. What potential factors do consequentialists exclude from ethical debates. And, what examples did John Stuart Mill provide in Utilitarianism to support his principle of utility in ethics....   [tags: Ethics, Utilitarianism, Morality, John Stuart Mill]

Powerful Essays
926 words (2.6 pages)

Classical Utilitarianism : A Moral Theory Essay

- It’s only second nature to ask oneself, “What is the right thing to do?” simply for the reason that it is the foundation to making a moral decision. As a society we have to make these decisions because they are vital to living in an indefectible world. I will attest that classical utilitarianism is the most logical moral theory for the sake of the greater good being the only intrinsically valuable thing because it supplies us with the most opportunities to improve welfare. Classical utilitarianism belongs to the family of moral theories called consequentialism....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Morality, Ethics, Consequentialism]

Powerful Essays
959 words (2.7 pages)

Essay Utilitarianism Is A Moral Theory

- Utilitarianism is a moral theory that approaches moral questions of right and wrong by considering the actual consequences of a variety of possible actions. These consequences are generally those that either positively or negatively affect other living beings. If there are both good and bad actual consequences of a particular action, the moral individual must weigh the good against the bad and go with the action that will produce the most good for the most amount of people. If the individual finds that there are only bad consequences, then she must go with the behavior that causes the least amount of bad consequences to the least amount of people....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Morality, Ethics, Pleasure]

Powerful Essays
1582 words (4.5 pages)

Utilitarianism : The Moral Theory Essay

- Utilitarianism is the moral theory that defines the right action as the action that produces the greatest overall good for the whole. The purpose is to guide people’s actions in such a way as to produce a better world. This is a demanding moral position that will often put aside self-interest for the sake of the whole. By agreeing that the purpose of morality is to make the world a better place, and by assessing various courses of action scientifically to determine which will have the greatest positive effect, then we can provide scientific answers to the question of what is the best action....   [tags: Pregnancy, Abortion, Utilitarianism, Fetus]

Powerful Essays
1271 words (3.6 pages)

Utilitarianism Essay

- This essay will present the key features of Utilitarianism and identify the problems of Utilitarianism to the extent to which they make Utilitarianism unacceptable. Jeremy Bentham founded Utilitarianism. He lived at a time of great change. With revolutions in France and America, demands were being made for human rights and greater democracy. Bentham worked on legal reform. Utilitarianism is associated with the principle of utility. Utility means the amount of satisfaction or pleasure that somebody gains from consuming a commodity, product, or service, i.e.; useful....   [tags: criticisms of utilitarianism]

Powerful Essays
1212 words (3.5 pages)