An analysis of the act and rule utilitarianism as successful moral theories

As such, it moves beyond the scope of one's own interests and takes into account the interests of others. Bentham's Principle of Utility: In measuring pleasure and pain, Bentham introduces the following criteria:

An analysis of the act and rule utilitarianism as successful moral theories

The full pdf can be viewed by clicking here. Ethics Theories- Utilitarianism Vs. Deontological Ethics There are two major ethics theories that attempt to specify and justify moral rules and principles: Utilitarianism also called consequentialism is a moral theory developed and refined in the modern world in the writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill There are several varieties of utilitarianism.

An analysis of the act and rule utilitarianism as successful moral theories

But basically, a utilitarian approach to morality implies that no moral act e. Rather, the rightness or wrongness of an act or rule is solely a matter of the overall nonmoral good e. In sum, according to utilitarianism, morality is a matter of the nonmoral good produced that results from moral actions and rules, and moral duty is instrumental, not intrinsic.

Morality is a means to some other end; it is in no way an end in itself. Space does not allow for a detailed critique of utilitarianism here.

Suffice it to say that the majority of moral philosophers and theologians have found it defective. One main problem is that utilitarianism, if adopted, justifies as morally appropriate things that are clearly immoral.

For example, utilitarianism can be used to justify punishing an innocent man or enslaving a small group of people if such acts produce a maximization of consequences. But these acts are clearly immoral regardless of how fruitful they might be for the greatest number. For this and other reasons, many thinkers have advocated a second type of moral theory, deontological ethics.

Deontological ethics is in keeping with Scripture, natural moral law, and intuitions from common sense. The rightness or wrongness of an act or rule is, at least in part, a matter of the intrinsic moral features of that kind of act or rule. For example, acts of lying, promise breaking, or murder are intrinsically wrong and we have a duty not to do these things.

This does not mean that consequences of acts are not relevant for assessing those acts. For example, a doctor may have a duty to benefit a patient, and he or she may need to know what medical consequences would result from various treatments in order to determine what would and would not benefit the patient.

An analysis of the act and rule utilitarianism as successful moral theories

But consequences are not what make the act right, as is the case with utilitarianism. Rather, at best, consequences help us determine which action is more in keeping with what is already our duty. Consequences help us find what is our duty, they are not what make something our duty.

Second, humans should be treated as objects of intrinsic moral value; that is, as ends in themselves and never as a mere means to some other end say, overall happiness or welfare.

Ethics Theories: Utilitarianism Vs. Deontological Ethics - Christian Research Institute

As we will see in Part Two, this notion is very difficult to justify if one abandons the theological doctrine of man being made in the image of God. Nevertheless, justified or unjustified, deontological ethics imply that humans are ends in themselves with intrinsic value.

Third, a moral principle is a categorical imperative that is universalizable; that is, it must be applicable for everyone who is in the same moral situation. Christian Research Institute Our Mission: To provide Christians worldwide with carefully researched information and well-reasoned answers that encourage them in their faith and equip them to intelligently represent it to people influenced by ideas and teachings that assault or undermine orthodox, biblical Christianity.

Do you like what you are seeing? Your partnership is essential.Act and Rule Utilitarianism Essay Sample. Nozick versus Utilitarianism “Utilitarianism” holds that “an act is moral if it is done to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number” (Kay, , n.p.).

Nozick said that an act should not be based on the “greatest happiness for the greatest number” since it could lead to a. Is rule-utilitarianism preferable to act-utilitarianism?

Classical utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory which holds that an action can only be considered as morally right where its consequences bring about the greatest amount of good to the greatest number (where 'good' is equal to pleasure minus pain).

Rule utilitarianism claims that an action is right if, and only if, it complies with those rules which, if everybody followed them, would lead to the greatest happiness (compared to any other set of rules). The debate between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism highlights many important issues about how we should make moral judgments.

Act utilitarianism stresses the specific context and the many individual features of the situations that pose moral problems, and it . Utilitarianism as an ethical theory Utilitarianism is the view that an act is right if it equals the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

Utilitarians describe moral actions as actions that boost something good and lessen something that is bad. Act utilitarianism beliefs that an action becomes morally right when it produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people, while Rule utilitarianism beliefs that the moral correctness of an action depends on the correctness of the rules that allows it to achieve the greatest good.

Act and Rule Utilitarianism | Essay Example