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Normative Ethics (Plan)

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Themansg
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Can actions be judged to the extent to which they maximise happiness?

Define utilitarianism: Is an ethical theory in normative ethics that has a core belief that the actions can be judged as right or wrong if they lead to a good consequence.

Define: Act utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism created by Jeremy Bentham. Act utilitarianism is a theory that states happiness can be calculated via the 'the hedonistic calculus'. This included factors such as profundity, intensity, duration and others. Each of these are used in relation to the action and then one can calculate the best outcome. This led to Bentham arguing that every action can be deemed right if it leads to maximising utility. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that actions can be judged to the extent which they maximise happiness

However, one can argue that act utilitarianism allows for barbaric actions to be taken place, which seem immoral. For example, torturing thousands of people in order to save millions. This entails some individuals will have to suffer hugely. This leads to swine ethics where cruel actions can be deemed good just because they lead to good consequences.

However, one can argue that this form utilitarianism is a favourable one. That's because it is an egalitarian theory, which matches well with the concept of democracy. Since, democracy is for the people, by the people, one can assume that it is therefore right to support the majority. This would mean that act utilitarianism is acting in the interests of majority and is truly maximising happibess

However, act utilitarianism is has a flaw. Bentham's form of utilitarianism rest on the notion that good utility is anything that involves creating high levels of happiness. But, Mill the rule utilitarian would strongly disagree with the acceptance of good utility being anything that creates...

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