In 1975 the board of directors for a company that makes transistors were presented with an ethical dilemma. They were the last transistor company that was selling to a pacemaker company as a result of other companies backing out of the business due to the failure of some pacemakers leading to deaths of some of those who used them. At the time, pacemaker technology was extremely new and had yet to develop into the ground breaking product that it is today. The ethical dilemma presented to the board was whether or not to continue to sell their transistor to the company and risk the negative connotation and ultimately the loss of shareholders in the company, associated with the deaths that occurred (Shanks, 1996). This analysis will explore the use of Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarian ethics in the decision making process for that company in this vital time. The Utility test and the Common Good Test will then be applied to this situation and through that decision making process and then compared. This will all be used in attempt to solve the current issue that was on the mind of all of the board members.
Utilitarian Ethical Problems
Utilitarian ethics focuses on the maximizing the pleasure and the minimizing the extent of pain. The biggest factor to note here is that Utilitarian ethics are not act driven, but rather they focus completely on the consequences of an action. If lying in a situation was to create more Good than telling the truth, then by these ethics, lying is not only acceptable but the right thing to do (Philosophy- Ethics).
When keeping Utilitarian ethics in mind with the pacemaker case, there are actually two main issues to analyze in making the decision. The first decision deals with the outcome ...
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...gations to establish and maintain it.” (Hamilton III). This by no means infers that the Utility test is wrong, but it does not deliver the broader implications of the decision as the Common Good test does. As a result, the answer achieved in the Utility test is ethical, but it does not explain the effects as well.
Through the use and analysis of Bentham’s theories as well as the Common Good and Utility tests, it is apparent that the best decision for the company is to maintain the contract with the pacemaker company. Through those stables it was established that in accordance with Utilitarian ethics, that is maximizing the Good and minimizing the bad of potential consequences, the only choice is to keep the contract (Philosophy-Ethics). All parties involved receive the most pleasure out of the decision, the aforementioned basis for these ethics.
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