Utilitarianism And Moral Responsibility : Utilitarianism

1567 WordsFeb 24, 20167 Pages
The welfarist component of utilitarianism denies the intrinsic value of any moral elements other than wellbeing. This assumption makes the utilitarian moral theory susceptible to the criticism that it undermines the moral significance of justice and law—something that many people assume to possess an absolute nature. However, in the following analysis, I’ll try to demonstrate that even in morally sophisticated cases, utilitarianism comes to the conclusion that may well explain our commonsense about law. Its real weaknesses lie in the consequentialist assumption, which may be potentially incompatible with a plausible theory on moral responsibility. It might be helpful to begin our evaluation about utilitarianism by considering a moral dilemma. I’ll then propose an answer under the utilitarian framework and respond to some of our moral concerns by offering alternative explanations. Then I’ll try to identify the weaknesses of utilitarianism by showing its confusion on moral responsibility. Suppose that four white policemen were taped beating a black suspect while arresting him, and the videotape was uploaded online. The video aroused widespread public anger and the four policemen were put on trial, yet the available evidences argue against conviction. However, an acquittal is likely to trigger public fury and cause riots, which may ultimately result in deaths and injuries. A jury member is thus facing a decision either to vote for acquittal, allowing the riot to happen, or to
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