A description of utilitaranism the ethical doctrine

To show this, is the goal of the third step of the proof. As we will see in Part Two, this notion is very difficult to justify if one abandons the theological doctrine of man being made in the image of God.

There are several different variants: Let us consider the following example: Mill says that to suppose that one must always consciously employ the utilitarian principle in making decisions … is to mistake the very meaning of a standard of morals and confound the rule of action with the motive of it.

He mentions four reasons for maintaining free speech and opposing censorship. Utilitarians admit that certain knowledge of consequences is sometimes impossible, but argue that best estimates of the consequences or predictions based on the past are usually sufficient.


Follow a rule whose general observance promotes happiness the most. They are desired and desirable in and for themselves; besides being means, they are a part of the end.

Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy

But, as Mill himself concedes, very little conduct is purely self-regarding IV 8. Any object of moral assessment should be assessed, not by the value of its consequences for the general happiness, but by its conformity to something else e.

The Second Formula maintains that a set of social rules A is better than the set B, if in A less humans suffer from an impoverished, unhappy life and more enjoy a fulfilled, rich life than in B. Again, aspects of this doctrine would be picked up by Francis Hutcheson and David Hume — There are some pleasures that are more fitting than others.

Shaftesbury approached moral evaluation via the virtues and vices. He explains his commitment to utilitarianism early in Chapter II of Utilitarianism. It is also interesting in terms of political philosophy and social policy.

He is accused of committing the naturalistic fallacybecause he is trying to deduce what people ought to do from what they in fact do; the fallacy of equivocationbecause he moves from the fact that 1 something is desirable, i.

These secondary principles should be set aside in favor of direct appeals to the utilitarian first principle in cases in which adherence to the secondary precept would have obviously inferior consequences or in which such secondary principles conflict U II 19, 24— Utility understood this way is a personal preferencein the absence of any objective measurement.

Russell Hardin rejects such arguments.

John Stuart Mill: Ethics

That part of his personality that harbours these hostile antisocial feelings must be excluded from membership, and has no claim for a hearing when it comes to defining our concept of social utility. It implies that I do wrong every time I fail to perform the optimal act, even when these suboptimal acts are very good.

John Stuart Mill, London: We would be on good ground in censoring flat-earthers both literal and figurative. For this reason, Mill sees no need to differentiate between the utilitarian and the hedonistic aspect of his moral theory.

This would be the case, if humans were programmed like robots to act in certain ways, regardless of the external conditions. He equated knowledge and wisdom with self-awareness meaning to be aware of every fact relevant to a person's existence and virtue and happiness.


Consequences help us find what is our duty, they are not what make something our duty. It involves our saying that, even if the total quantity of pleasure in each was exactly equal, yet the fact that all the beings in the one possessed in addition knowledge of many different kinds and a full appreciation of all that was beautiful or worthy of love in their world, whereas none of the beings in the other possessed any of these things, would give us no reason whatever for preferring the former to the latter.

However, like Bentham, the good still consists in pleasure, it is still a psychological state. It would be absurd that while, in estimating all other things, quality is considered as well as quantity, the estimation of pleasures should be supposed to depend on quantity alone.

The rightness or wrongness of an act or rule is, at least in part, a matter of the intrinsic moral features of that kind of act or rule. Second, Mill claims that these activities are intrinsically more valuable than the lower pursuits II 7.

He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. So, unless Hume endorses a kind of ideal observer test for virtue, it will be harder for him to account for how it is people make mistakes in evaluations of virtue and vice.

Along indirect act utilitarian lines, one could maintain that we would be cognitively overwhelmed by the task of calculating the consequences of any action. But then 2 is false.

Ethics Theories: Utilitarianism Vs. Deontological Ethics

Second, humans should be treated as objects of intrinsic moral value; that is, as ends in themselves and never as a mere means to some other end say, overall happiness or welfare.

Because a person cannot counteract an effective desire, he is necessarily determined by it — just as things are. Thus, an action should only be carried out if it follows a rule that morally should be followed at all times.

So the version of psychological egoism to which he is attracted is psychological hedonism.John Stuart Mill (–) was the most famous and influential British philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was one of the last systematic philosophers, making significant contributions in logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and social theory.

Ethics Theories- Utilitarianism Vs. Deontological Ethics. There are two major ethics theories that attempt to specify and justify moral rules and principles: utilitarianism and deontological ethics. Utilitarianism (also called consequentialism) is a moral theory developed and refined in the modern world in the writings of Jeremy Bentham () and John Stuart Mill ().

Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy. Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory.

Descriptive Ethics is a value-free approach to ethics which examines ethics from the perspective of observations of actual choices made by moral agents in practice.

It is the study of people's beliefs about morality, and implies the existence of, rather than explicitly prescribing, theories of value or of conduct. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility.

"Utility" is defined in various ways, usually in terms of the well-being of sentient entities. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action.

Utilitarianism definition is - a doctrine that the useful is the good and that the determining consideration of right conduct should be the usefulness of its consequences; specifically: a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or .

A description of utilitaranism the ethical doctrine
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