The utilitarianism theory holds that an action is moral if it produces the greatest amount of good

1000 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
The utilitarianism theory holds that an action is moral if it produces the greatest amount of good for the largest amount of people that are affected by the consequences of the action DeGeorge 44). Jeremy Bentham believed that one should measure the intensity, duration, certainty, remoteness, or purity and their opposites when evaluating for each person that is affected (DeGeorge 46). For example, a consequence that gives a more desirable quality like pleasure would be favored, just like if one would receive a good immediately rather than at a later time, the sooner would be favored. To know whether the action produces the absolute greatest good, one must compare it with alternative actions as well. To determine whether an action is moral…show more content…
There are complications when using the utilitarianism theory. One is the difficulty in comparing consequences that are very different from each other. Unlike a business calculation, where everything is seen in dollars and cents, evaluating actions from a moral view is not as easy. To solve this problem, there are three different approaches. Hedonistic utilitarianism is the belief that human values can be seen as either pleasure or pain. Eudaimonistic utilitarianism uses happiness as the basic value in terms of the calculation. Lastly, ideal utilitarianism maintains that all valuable goods like friendship and knowledge must be calculated as well. Since there are only small differences in these approaches, most utilitarian calculations will come out the same (DeGeorge 45). An advantage to utilitarianism is that it is universal. All people are equal and each individual’s good is just as important as another individual’s good so the moral calculation can be made from an impersonal point of view. Even though pleasure or happiness is experienced subjectively, they are weighed objectively (DeGeorge 46). There are a number of objections and arguments against utilitarianism. One of them is the accusation that utilitarianism is ungodly since it does not use God as the basis for moral judgments. However, one could argue that God would want what is
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