Using Utilitarian Ethicals to Determine Right From Wrong Essay

Better Essays

In 1975 the board of directors for a company that makes transistors were presented with an ethical dilemma. They were the last transistor company that was selling to a pacemaker company as a result of other companies backing out of the business due to the failure of some pacemakers leading to deaths of some of those who used them. At the time, pacemaker technology was extremely new and had yet to develop into the ground breaking product that it is today. The ethical dilemma presented to the board was whether or not to continue to sell their transistor to the company and risk the negative connotation and ultimately the loss of shareholders in the company, associated with the deaths that occurred (Shanks, 1996). This …show more content…

The second issue to be analyzed counters that possible result. If the transistor company were to continue in business then there lies the opportunity to save countless lives that could benefit greatly due to the technology. Yes, the company is putting itself at risk, but for the result of saving people who really need pacemakers. It is known that pacemakers have failed before, but it can be assumed that the aforementioned pacemakers did not have this company’s transistor in it or else they most likely would’ve already left the contract. That being said, there is the possibility that the other transistors that were being used were just poorly made (Shanks, 1996). As a result of this, the main Utilitarian issue being presented is does the company end the contract and not take the unnecessary risk associated, or do they continue the contract and potentially save countless lives?

Bentham’s Advice to the Company Jeremy Bentham defined Utilitarian ethics as “we are to promote pleasure and act to reduce pain.” (Driver, 2009). Bentham defined these ethics by taking into account an array of parameters that included intensity, certainty, proximity, fecundity, purity and the amount of people affected by a given decision (Driver, 2009).
Analyzing these parameters, it is clear to say Bentham would give the advice of staying with the contract. By staying with the contract, the

Get Access