Utilitarianism essay

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that assesses an action as morally right and just if it produces the most amount of net happiness. There are two forms of utilitarianism: act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism is the standard form, which considers all paths of the action that lead to immediate and long-term happiness, as well has the magnitude and how long the happiness will last. Furthermore, if all paths lead to the same amount of net happiness, each path would be just as morally right as the other.

It also does not take into account the number of people it affects – it only considers the mount of happiness. To English philosopher Jeremy Beneath, the founder Of utilitarianism, happiness is pleasure and the absence Of pain. He believed that all types of pleasure, if the in same amount, were also equal in quality. However, it is difficult to calculate an amount of happiness. Is the amount of happiness one receives from getting a promotion at McDonald’s the same as happiness one gets from graduating law school?

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So, John Stuart Mill, fellow philosopher and follower of Bantam’s utilitarian theory, believed that different pleasures have different values. To Mill, physical pleasures are allude less than pleasure that invigorate the mind. Thus, in the McDonald’s promotion and law school degree scenarios, Beneath would argue that they would each render the same amount of happiness, whereas Mill would argue that receiving a degree from law school would render more happiness because it would bring out more possibilities for a career and ultimately increase one’s well-being.

In addition to bringing out the most happiness, the utilitarian theory also recognizes that all the possibilities of an action may not bring any net happiness. In these instances, the theory guides one to choose he action that would produce the least amount of unhappiness. There are two major criticisms utilitarian’s face. One is that no one can possibly know all immediate and future ramifications of an action and even if it were possible, it would take too much time in real-life scenarios to practice.

A utilitarian would agree that no one can possibly know all consequences of a given situation while defending that the theory is used a guide to maximize happiness. A utilitarian would also note that since people generally know what happiness and one’s well-being consist of, it helps eliminate obvious wrong choices to save time. The second major criticism is that the action itself, though yielding the most happiness, may not be morally right. In these instances, a utilitarian would argue that this flexibility is realistic and can be applied a real-life situation that are not always black and white.

In real-life there are often grey areas where one may need to make difficult or seemingly immoral decision, but the end result of the action may bring about the most happiness than an action that was moral. The second form of utilitarianism, rule utilitarianism, is similar to the standard form except that it adapts a set of deadlines, an “optimal moral code” to determine right or wrong. It is also emphasized in rule utilitarianism that if an action produces the most amount of happiness, yet defies the optimal moral code, it is wrong.

Challenger Disaster In January 1 986, space shuttle Challenger exploded because the O-rings failed to seal in the booster rocket joints due to low temperatures the day of the launch. Morton Tuition, Inc. Was the manufacturer of the booster rockets and one of Thicket’s engineers, Roger Boyishly, found that low temperatures detrimentally affected the seals of the booster rockets. He informed his periods of his findings, but they were deemed as insignificant. The night before the flight, Boyishly and his colleagues advised against the launch due to the low temperatures, but their employers ignored the advice and moved forward with the liftoff.

All seven astronauts onboard died in the explosion. In accordance with the utilitarian theory, Boyishly did act morally right. He informed his superiors and NASA of his research findings to avoid failure and reduce the amount of unhappiness ? the death Of the astronauts. Tuition and NASA, however, did not act morally right. Though the postponing of the munch was not favorable, it would to allow more time to redesign the seals and most likely avoid the catastrophe. They also could have postponed the launch to a day with optimum temperatures for the seals.

Consenting to Sexual Harassment In Vinson v. Taylor, Michelle Vinson claims that her supervisor Sidney Taylor sexually harassed her. She testified that after a year of working at the bank Taylor made advances on her saying that she “owed” him for getting her the job. She turned him down initially, but eventually became sexually involved with him for her last three years she was employed at the bank. She claims hat Taylor raped her and if she did not submit, she would be terminated.

Taylor denied the accusations saying that he has never had any sexual relations with Vinson and that Vinson made advances on him. And in retribution for denying her, she filed charges against him. The courts ruled that the relationship between Vinson and Taylor was voluntary and that the employer was not liable, especially since Vinson to not notify the company. Vinson appealed the case and the Supreme Court then ruled that the advances on Vinson were unwelcome though voluntary. They did not disclose whether or not the employer was liable for sexual harassment.

The rule utilitarian theory applies here in that Courts followed a set of rules to produce an outcome. It’s also a case of what action renders the least amount of unhappiness. Through Venison’s appeal the court stated that regardless of her willingness to have sexual intercourse with her superior, it was unwelcome. Its difficult to say what the outcome is since the Court did not state whether or not the employer was liable. Parable of Shads In the parable of shads, Bowen McCoy makes a 60-day trek with his friend Stephen, a few porters and Sharper in the Himalayan Mountains.

They reach point of the trip where they must make it over an 18,000 foot pass over a crest to reach Machinate, an ancient holy village for pilgrims. The take a nights rest before they make the pass and there are a few groups the are within range; a group of New Slanderer, two Swiss couples and a Japanese hiking club. The next day, the New Slanderer depart for the pass first. Stephen, who is beginning to suffer from altitude sickness, and Bowen begin their journey to the pass when they see one of the New Slanderer carrying an almost naked, barefooted shads across his shoulders.

The New Zealand eaves him with them exclaiming that he has done what he can and that they should care for him because they have porters and Sharpe guides and that he and his group are moving forward with their trek. Bowen checks his pulse to find that the pilgrim is alive. They wonder why he has hardly any clothes on and why he did not choose the safer route. Stephen and the Swiss couples begin to take off some of their clothing to warm up the shads. Bowen does not hesitate to move forward as he wants to make it over the pass and the journey becomes more dangerous as time passes; the ice steps would melt and would make the path slippery.

Bowen continues, leaving Stephen, the Swiss, and the Japanese behind. The Swiss catch up to Bowen finds out from them that the shads was doing fine and that Stephen is approaching. Stephen is upset with Bowen and asks how he feels about contributing to the sad’s death. Stephen tells Bowen that he stayed with the shads until the Japanese arrived. He asked the Japanese to borrow their horse to take the shads down to the hut, but they refuse and give him food and drink before continuing on.

Stephen then asked the lead Sharpe, Pagans, to get a group Of porters to carry the shads down, but he also refuses because he believed it loud exert the porters’ energy and that they would not able to do it before the ice melted into a slippery slope. Pagans encouraged Stephen to continue with the time-sensitive hike and the Sharper carried the shads down to a rock in the sun and pointed out to the hut that was 500 feet away. The last time the Sharper saw the shads, he was throwing rocks at the Japanese’s dog, which had scared him.

Though it may seem morally wrong to leave the shads and carry on with the journey, Bowman acted correctly according to the utilitarian theory. If he had helped the shads get across the pass to Machinate, where he seemingly came room, Bowman may not have had the energy to do so and risk both of their lives, which would be the most amount of unhappiness. If he backtracked and took the shads to a hut for warmth and safety, he would have jeopardized his trip and defeated the purpose of this journey and moreover, the pilgrim may not have wanted to be “saved” for he was nearly naked and did not chose the safer route.

One Nation Under Wall-Mart Wall-Mart is the largest company in retail with nearly 5,000 stores and 140 million shoppers. It continues to grow as they open more and more stores that sell household items at bargain prices. As they expand, they are able to offer lower prices because they can buy in very large bulk quantities and demand better prices from their vendors. Though it seems that everyone would be in favor of this large bargain retailer, who sells consumer necessities at extreme low prices, there are many critics of Wall-Mart’s operation.

They stomp out small, local “mom and pop” shop business and compete with supermarkets, eliminating jobs and disrupting communities. They are also an anti-union establishment, pay low wages and most of their employees do not receive health insurance. Lastly, they are criticized for not carrying certain products like racy magazines such as Glamour or Cosmopolitan. Thus, locals often refuse and dispute the expansion of Walter in their town. According to the utilitarian theory, Wall-mart is not behaving morally wrong. They are abiding by the laws.

Though they may pay low wages and not offer health benefits to part-time employees, they are able to employ 1. 4 million people. Their business also allows consumers to purchase necessities at some of the lowest prices available. Furthermore, the decision to not carry certain products like racy magazine or music with explicit lyrics would outweigh the fact that they carry thousands of household activities at a bargain. Face Transplant: “Highly Risky Experimentation” Isabella Denier was victim of a terrible incident that left her face, extremely disfigured.

Her lips chin, nose were clawed and bitten off by her dog. The events that led up the incident are uncertain. She said that she took meds to help her sleep and that while walking down her hallway on the sleeping medication she stumbled over her aggressive dog that she had just adopted. Her daughter said that Isabella tried to kill herself and the dog was tying to wake her up after she fell to the ground and lost consciousness. While in the capital the chairman of the department of Monomaniacal Surgery at Amines University Hospital, Dry.

Bernard Debauchedly thought that she should would be a good candidate for an experimental face transplant that was considered time sensitive because the longer they would of waited the more scar tissue she would have had, which would of made the surgery more dangerous. With consent from Isabella they partial transplant was done but a wave of criticism came once the news was released. Many in the industry felt that the surgery was too dangerous and other option should have been considered. They thought that Dry.

Debauchedly insisted on doing the surgery not because he wanted to do what was best for the client but so that he would get publicity for it. They also believed that he chose the wrong sort of client for such an operation. Since Isabella had tried to commit suicide she wouldn’t be a good candidate because she might not be able to deal with the cameras and news attention, that it might be more than she can bare and wasn’t mentally strong enough to handle it. According to utilitarianism, an action is right if it brings about as much net happiness as any other action the agent could have performed. Believe that Dry.

Bernard Debauchedly did take into account other possibilities before they made their decision to do the partial facial implant. It was a time-sensitive decision his patient needed to make and according to him, she eagerly wanted him to help her so that she could be as normal as possible again. Critics of the transplant dispute that was he did was morally wrong, but ultimately it was Sociable’s decision. Have learned that all real-life decisions are not just black and white. Some are easy and some difficult and even harder. We all have general innate moral code of conduct and the rule utilitarian theory is one that relate with the most.