Utilitarianism is a workable moral theory

But the theory of government remained an overarching theoretical concept in continental Europe right to the end of the nineteenth century e. The sciences concerned with the state have been differentiated and specialized. Public law, economics, political science, political sociology, geography, planning, and other academic disciplines have developed their own systems of reference for theory and analysis. To some degree the scientific dialects have become rites of passage, restricting access to the mysteries of special knowledge to the initiated few.

Utilitarianism is a workable moral theory

Collections of Essays 1. Overall View Utilitarianism is a philosophical view or theory about how we should evaluate a wide range of things that involve choices that people face.

Among the things that can be evaluated are actions, laws, policies, character traits, and moral codes.

Literary forms and sociological conditions

Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism because it rests on the idea that it is the consequences or results of actions, laws, policies, etc. In Utilitarianism is a workable moral theory, whatever is being evaluated, we ought to choose the one that will produce the best overall results.

Utilitarianism appears to be a simple theory because it consists of only one evaluative principle: Do what produces the best consequences. In fact, however, the theory is complex because we cannot understand that single principle unless we know at least three things: Jeremy Bentham answered this question by adopting the view called hedonism.

According to hedonism, the only thing that is good in itself is pleasure or happiness. Likewise, on the negative side, a lack of food, friends, or freedom is instrumentally bad because it produces pain, suffering, and unhappiness; but pain, suffering and unhappiness are intrinsically bad, i.

Many thinkers have rejected hedonism because pleasure and pain are sensations that we feel, claiming that many important goods are not types of feelings.

Being healthy or honest or having knowledge, for example, are thought by some people to be intrinsic goods that are not types of feelings.

Other thinkers see desires or preferences as the basis of value; whatever a person desires is valuable to that person. If desires conflict, then the things most strongly preferred are identified as good.

This debate will not be further discussed in this article. Utilitarian reasoning can be used for many different purposes. It can be used both for moral reasoning and for any type of rational decision-making. In addition to applying in different contexts, it can also be used for deliberations about the interests of different persons and groups.

When individuals are deciding what to do for themselves alone, they consider only their own utility. For example, if you are choosing ice cream for yourself, the utilitarian view is that you should choose the flavor that will give you the most pleasure.

If you enjoy chocolate but hate vanilla, you should choose chocolate for the pleasure it will bring and avoid vanilla because it will bring displeasure.

In addition, if you enjoy both chocolate and strawberry, you should predict which flavor will bring you more pleasure and choose whichever one will do that.

Because Bentham and other utilitarians were interested in political groups and public policies, they often focused on discovering which actions and policies would maximize the well-being of the relevant group. Their method for determining the well-being of a group involved adding up the benefits and losses that members of the group would experience as a result of adopting one action or policy.

Utilitarianism is a workable moral theory

The well-being of the group is simply the sum total of the interests of the all of its members. To illustrate this method, suppose that you are buying ice cream for a party that ten people will attend. Your only flavor options are chocolate and vanilla, and some of the people attending like chocolate while others like vanilla.

As a utilitarian, you should choose the flavor that will result in the most pleasure for the group as a whole. If seven like chocolate and three like vanilla and if all of them get the same amount of pleasure from the flavor they like, then you should choose chocolate.Dialectical materialism is a philosophy of science and nature developed in Europe and based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels..

Utilitarianism: What is it? Why does it not work? « T h e o • p h i l o g u e

Dialectical materialism adapts the Hegelian dialectic for traditional materialism, which examines the subjects of the world in relation to each other within a dynamic, evolutionary environment, in contrast to metaphysical materialism, which examines.

Western philosophy - Renaissance philosophy: The philosophy of a period arises as a response to social need, and the development of philosophy in the history of Western civilization since the Renaissance has, thus, reflected the process in which creative philosophers have responded to the unique challenges of each stage in the development of Western culture itself.

Hypothetical Treatment of Ethical Dilemma - This paper is an analysis of a hypothetical vignette in which a counselor-in-training named Callie, a fairly experienced and nearly-licensed counselor supervisee, approaches her counselor supervisor for advice and direction regarding an ethical dilemma.

Utilitarianism is a workable moral theory

Utilitarianism could only be a complete moral theory if we got to constantly redefine utility as the situation requires. For instance, it is normally wrong to steal food from a store's shelves.

Stealing food would normally decrease utility. The retributive theory of punishment holds that punishment is justified by the moral requirement that the guilty make amends for the harm they have caused to society.

Retributive theories generally maintain, as did the Italian criminologist Cesare Beccaria (–94), that the severity of a. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility. "Utility" is defined in various ways, Others argue that a moral theory that is so contrary to our deeply held moral convictions must either be rejected or modified.

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