A comparison of how people used to live when they were still cave-inhabitants, with current living conditions that provide an organized society, with concepts such as justice, respect, tolerance and morality, we can feel justifiably proud of the progress we have made. Mankind has progressed so far because we have used our minds and thought about what is right and how things ought to be. For instance, it is recognized that war is bad, because people suffer from it and that it is their right to live in peace. However, doing the just thing can sometimes be hard and we need to form a theory according to which will help clarify such problems in all situations. The utilitarian theory suggests that any action we take should always bring with it consequences that are most beneficial to the majority, in order to maximize the happiness of human kind. Rule-Utilitarianism goes even further by saying that any action one takes must be fit to be used as a rule which anyone can follow in similar circumstances. However such a moral theory raises questions about whether it acknowledges the importance of the human being as an individual. Through this paper, I am going to prove that Utilitarianism does not fit this requirement, by analyzing arguments both for and against it.
[...] It states that there is no objection to why 'the greater gains of some should not compensate for the lesser losses of others' . This is because as long as one group benefits a lot more than another loses it is in a utilitarian way fair, because the maximum happiness of everyone is pursued. To clarify this argument I shall consider another small example: If I gave away ten pounds, someone I do not know would receive a hundred. So, if I was a Utilitarian I would theoretically have to give away my ten pounds so that someone else would profit much more 2 compared to how little I would lose. [...]
[...] Assess the claim that utilitarianism fails to take sufficient account of the moral significance of our relations to others Assess the claim that Utilitarianism fails to take sufficient account of the moral significance of our relations to others. When we compare how people used to live when they were still cave-inhabitants to how we live today, in an organised society, with concepts such as justice, respect, tolerance and morality, we should clearly be quite proud of the progress we have made. [...]
[...] As this is a part of my arguments against Utilitarianism I will return to this point later. If we take an example in which a certain person A is in a relationship with a certain person but person A is also part of a Humanitarian Organisation, which needs him for a very important project in the week to come. Yet his wife is ill and asks him to take care of her this same week . The RuleUtilitarian would argue that Person A has to prioritise his obligations with the Humanitarian Organisation over the obligations to his wife because the former will produce more good. [...]
[...] Finally we end up concluding that Utilitarianism reduces human relationships to a useful tool to improve society. According to Professor Moore 'the only morally significant relation in which my neighbours stand to me is that of being possible beneficiaries by my action' . Taking the example of making a promise, it is not purely a matter of fulfilling it because this would ensure the trust between people, which is so important for the good functioning of society, it is about a very personal thing to say which puts us in a special position to someone, which we are aware of from the moment we make it . [...]
[...] We should use our intelligence to find a third way out, a way in which everyone can benefit not at the expense of others. BIBLIOGRAPHY: •Jonathan Glover, Utilitarianism and its Critics, (Macmillan Publishing Company, New York 1990) • Samuel Scheffler, Consequentialism and its Critics, (Oxford 1988) • W.D. [...]
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