Act Utilitarianism And Rule Utilitarianism

978 Words4 Pages
1. Utilitarians believe that “one should so act as to promote the greatest happiness (pleasure) of the greatest number of people” (Angeles 326). However, within the utilitarian community there are major splits in how we are to determine which action brings us the greatest amounts of pleasure. Today I will be focusing on two ways to determine which actions bring the greatest amount of pleasure to a situation: act and rule utilitarianism. I will define both act and rule utilitarianism, give a situation where both can be applied, and respond to an objection of utilitarianism. I will also be discussing why I believe act utilitarianism helps more people than rule utilitarianism, in turn, becoming ‘superior’ to rule utilitarianism.
2. To begin, I will be defining both act and rule utilitarianism. In act utilitarianism, you determine the morality of an act by measuring the pleasures and pains for a specific situation Angeles 326). Act utilitarians take into consideration only those affected in the specific situation. However, rule utilitarianism determines the morality of an act “according to the good or bad consequences that ensue from following a general moral rule of conduct…” (Angeles 326). Good examples of those general moral rules are phrases like, never steal or never tell a lie. In any situation, people can use either act or rule utilitarianism to determine the correct course of action.
3. Now, I will use a hypothetical situation to describe both act and rule
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