Is Utilitarianism Too Demanding?

Decent Essays

Utilitarianism is clearly a demanding theory. The theory can sometimes fail to live up to expectations, if the demands of the theory have not been maximised for the sum total of welfare in the universe. When there is singular distress some hardships cannot be alleviated, providing that performing an alternative action cannot do even more good. John Mackie argued utilitarianism as an “ethics of fantasy”. A theory that is so demanding must turn out to be counterproductive. If all requirements were to be respected, morality as such would have to be given up. It would be more reasonable; to stick to a morality that imposes less harsh requirements on us. (Tannsjo, p32)
It can be considered then, that yes, utilitarianism is demanding. This assignment will endeavour to define the statement “Is Utilitarianism too demanding?” it will also discuss the arguments presented by Geoffrey Scarre.

Utilitarianism is the ethical theory that the production of happiness and reduction of happiness should be the standard by which actions are judged right or wrong and by which the rules of laws, public polices, social institutions and morality. According to utilitarianism, an act is not right or wrong merely because it is a case of lying or telling the truth; and the moral rule against lying is not in itself correct. Lying is wrong because, in general, it has bad consequences. Ethically the rule against lying can be subjected to empirical study to rationalize some cases of lying, such as to

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