Monday, October 21, 2019

Is Utilitarianism a Defensible essays

Is Utilitarianism a Defensible essays Is Utilitarianism a defensible ethical theory? What are the main problems it faces? Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that seems to have lots of problems, but when analysing an ethical theory you must keep in mind that the main motive behind anyones moral values is that they believe them to be correct. So in this respect any ethical theory is defensible by one who believes in its virtues, even if you find the moral judgements made by it to be repugnant. The main arguments against utilitarianism seem to come from the problems faced when trying to decide what the correct course of action in any given situation should be. There are difficulties with the calculations involved in the decision making process, the probable consequences and the measurement of happiness. There are what seem perverse morally right outcomes that the theory dispenses (which can at times seem contradictory to what the generally accepted absolute values tell us, for instance killing is wrong) and blatant contradictions in the acts that the theory tells us to perform. Utilitarianism deals with the probable consequences of any given action. Calculations of this type are obviously incredibly unreliable as you are dealing with unknowns. For example, a utilitarian would most likely advocate the thought that hitting someone is likely to be wrong and cause unhappiness, but how would you know that that would be the case, the person hit may be a masochist, and enjoy the pain. What if there was a crowd around the person about to be hit, and it consisted of a great number of perverts who revelled and got enjoyment from other peoples pain. The act of hitting the person would then be seen to have a different moral value, perhaps a greater one than before if there were no other act that would produce as much pleasure/utility, and so it would not be morally wrong. Another basic problem arises when the measurement of happiness has to be calculated. H...

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