An essay on utilitarianism and the importance of human life

For its publication he brought old manuscripts into form and added some new material.

An essay on utilitarianism and the importance of human life

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. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism because it rests on the idea that it is the consequences or results of actions, laws, policies, etc.

Utilitarianism And Utilitarianism - Throughout this essay, when describing defensible utilitarianism, it will refer to the term defensible as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary (), because this version is typically understood by all academics studying under the British English language. Mar 24,  · This essay – or post if you wish – is intended as a concise exploration of utilitarianism, one of many ethical movements within the world of moral philosophy. Summary of why suffering probably dominates happiness. I personally believe that most animals (except maybe those that live a long time, like >3 years) probably endure more suffering than happiness overall, because I would trade away several years of life to avoid the pain of the average death in the wild.

In general, 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.

An essay on utilitarianism and the importance of human life

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.

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.

Similarly, if a government is choosing a policy, it should give equal consideration to the well-being of all members of the society. Bentham is often cited as the source of a famous utilitarian axiom: Actual Consequences or Foreseeable Consequences?

Utilitarians disagree about whether judgments of right and wrong should be based on the actual consequences of actions or their foreseeable consequences.

This issue arises when the actual effects of actions differ from what we expected. Smart 49 explains this difference by imagining the action of a person who, in ,saves someone from drowning.

Had Hitler drowned, millions of other people might have been saved from suffering and death between and One reason for adopting foreseeable consequence utilitarianism is that it seems unfair to say that the rescuer acted wrongly because the rescuer could not foresee the future bad effects of saving the drowning person.

In response, actual consequence utilitarians reply that there is a difference between evaluating an action and evaluating the person who did the action. They stress the difference between evaluating actions and evaluating the people who perform them.

Foreseeable consequence utilitarians accept the distinction between evaluating actions and evaluating the people who carry them out, but they see no reason to make the moral rightness or wrongness of actions depend on facts that might be unknowable.

For them, what is right or wrong for a person to do depends on what is knowable by a person at a time. For this reason, they claim that the person who rescued Hitler did the right thing, even though the actual consequences were unfortunate.Ethics essay – Utilitarianism a.) Explain the main differences between the utilitarianism of Bentham and that of Mill.

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that looks at the concept of `utility`, or the usefulness of actions.

The Greater Good; an Essay on Utilitarianism | Cogito

In theory and in practice, Utilitarianism has continued to be influential, with the work of Bentham and Mill proving to be of the greatest importance and interest. Mar 24,  · This essay – or post if you wish – is intended as a concise exploration of utilitarianism, one of many ethical movements within the world of moral philosophy.

Henry Gray (–).Anatomy of the Human Body. Development of the Fetal Membranes and Placenta: The Allantois (Figs. 25 to 28).

—The allantois arises as a tubular diverticulum of the posterior part of the yolk-sac; when the hind-gut is developed the allantois is carried backward with it and then opens into the cloaca or terminal part of the hind-gut: it grows out into the.

Kantians believe “human life is valuable because humans are the bearers of rational life” (O’Neill ). In other words, humans are free rational beings capable of rational behavior and should not be used purely for the enjoyment or happiness of another. The more consistently one attempts to adhere to an ideology, the more one's sanity becomes a series of unprincipled exceptions.

— graaaaaagh (@graaaaaagh) February 5, Meeting with a large group of effective altruists can be a philosophically disconcerting experience, and my recent meetup with Stanford Effective Altruist Club was no exception.

Utilitarianism Critical Essays -