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Module 2: Intro to Ethical Theories

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Shaw and Barry distinguish two forms of utilitarianism. What are these two forms? Briefly describe each.
Utilitarianism is the idea that we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, both philosophers, used the utilitarian standard to evaluate and criticize the social and political institutions of their day. And, as a result, utilitarianism has long been associated with social improvement. The two forms of utilitarianism are act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism, utilitarianism in its most basic version, states that we must calculate what the consequences are of a particular act in a particular situation, and what it will be for all those affected. And, if its consequences bring more total good than those of any alternative course of action, then this action is the right one and the one we should inform. Rule utilitarianism maintains that the utilitarian standard should be applied not to individual actions but to moral codes as a whole. The rule utilitarian asks what moral code, or set of morals, a society should adopt to maximize happiness. The principles that make up that code would then be the basis for distinguishing right actions from wrong actions. Same as any other theory, these theories can be thought to contain flaws- i.e. not being able to predict the future and this uncertainty can lead to unexpected results making the utilitarian look unethical as time passes because his choice did not benefit the most people as he predicted.

What do economists mean by the “declining marginal utility of money?”
In economics, marginal utility can be defined as a change in total satisfaction derived from the purchase of one additional or incremental unit of a specific good or service, all else being equal. The concept of...

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