Premium Essay

Utilitarian Theory


Submitted By ny10453
Words 820
Pages 4
Utilitarianism and the Kantian theory are both ethical theories that try to prove where the moral worth of an action lies. However these theories differ in a number of ways. Utilitarianism is a theory that “considers the pursuit of higher, distinctively human pleasures.” (Mill 115) With utilitarianism, morality is based on outcomes. An action is right if it results in the greatest good for the most number of people. Kant says you do good because you have a duty to do good; the consequences are completely irrelevant. “A good will is good not because of what it performs or effects.” (Kant 141) With Kantian morality one's intentions and good will is all that matters. The debate between Kant and Mill is precisely whether our sense of duty can be compromised by appeals to consequences. Utilitarianism and Kant’s theory both have similarities, strengths and weaknesses. An instrumental good is something that helps you achieve something else. If there are only instrumental goods, then A is good because it helps bring the outcome of B, which is good because it helps bring the outcome of C, and so on, therefore our notion of goodness has no anchor. To some people this seems irrational, and they think goodness must have an anchor, they want to posit an "intrinsic" good somewhere. Both utilitarians and Kantians agree there is an intrinsic good. They also agree in being monists rather than pluralists about goodness. There is one and only one intrinsic good for both of them. If asked what is that good? Utilitarians would say pleasure. Kantians say a good will.“Kants theory has less scope than utilitarianism. Katians do not claim to discover whether acts whose maxims they do not know fully just.”(O’Neill 169)

Both theories have strengths. Utilitarianism is a consequential theory, they believe that good consequences are what makes an act good, basing its

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Utilitarian Theory

...determining consideration of right conduct should be the usefulness of its consequences. The utilitarianism theory aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Utilitarianism is a major position in normative ethics late 18th and 19th century. Utilitarianism is an attempt to provide an answer to the question what a man should do in order to produce the best consequences possible for all persons affected from the action he undertakes Utilitarianism trusts on some theory of intrinsic value, meaning that when something is held to be good, all other values are assumed to deduce their worth from their relation to this intrinsic good as a means to an end. . The utilitarian takes all the happiness and suffering or pain produced by the act into consideration independent of the fact whether arising after the act has been performed or during its performance. The happiness can be considered as the result of the gathered happiness of each person involved. Utilitarianism is based on the assumption that it is possible to evaluate the consequences of two different actions by comparing their intrinsic values. Utilitarianism tries to create a complex but fair system of ethics by establishing several generalizing principles. Nevertheless, there are various problems concerning the applicability of utilitarian theory, the main problem is the subordination of the individual under the common mark since each individual has...

Words: 1899 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Science populations and made it easier to catch the fish needed to support a family. The healthy reef community now attracts ecotourists and provides jobs for islanders. 2. What are some basic assumptions of science? 3. Distinguish between a hypothesis and a theory. A hypothesis is the second step from the scientific method that forms an educated guess based off an observation. A theory is the information that was gathered to support the proof of an observation and confirms the hypothesis. 4. Describe the steps in the scientific method. 7. What’s the first step in critical thinking? The first step in critical thinking is 8. Distinguish between utilitarian conservation and biocentric preservation. Name two environmental leaders associated with each of these philosophies. Biocentric preservation emphasizes the fundamental right of living organisms to exist and to pursue their own good. While utilitarian conservation emphasized that resources should be used for the greater good for the greatest number for the longest time. Two environmental leaders associated with the biocentric preservation philosophy are John Muir and Aldo Leopold. Two environmental leaders associated with the utilitarian conservation philosophy are President Theodore Roosevelt and his chief advisor, Grifford Pinchot. 9. Why do some experts regard water as the most critical natural resource for the twenty-first century? 11. Describe some signs of hope in overcoming global...

Words: 294 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Theory Discussion

...Theory according to the is a set of ideas that is intended to explain facts or events. The goal of a theory is to approach a situation and to identify the matter and determine the best outcome from it. The two components of a theory are assessing solutions to the disagreement and specifying the reason for this issue and supporting it with a conclusion. One of the theories I have chosen to use is Deontology and the situation of a mother telling her daughter whether Santa Clause really exists. The components of in this matter in Deontology in this case would be whether the mother should tell the truth or should she lie? Using the Universal Rule Test will portray the actions needed to justify the clarity of its rule of “Never lie” for deciding on telling her daughter the truth or not. As mentioned in the book (Ethics and social responsibility (2nd ed.) “People are taught throughout life at an early age to tell the truth.” In this case some may say the child is at the “age of reason” and it would be okay to lie, with this view in place the principle “Never lie” is not violated. Again as the book states, “It is okay to lie in some situations, but not others.” The relationships between these components are trying to figure out what situations do allow lying and what do not. In order to determine if a theory is valid or not you must distinguish if the premises are taken as the truth, and then the conclusion must be taken as true. Evidence or data is a collection...

Words: 471 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Media and Propaganda

...MEDIA EFFECTS AND PROPAGANDA October 30th 1938 was one of the most important dates in the history of mass media and its impact on society. Produced by Orson Welles, the radio broadcast of ???War of the Worlds??? created nationwide panic and thus allowed anyone to see the social effects that were made possible by the media. Interestingly, while panic was observed during the broadcast, some people were still able to remain calm and collected. Two years later, this led physiologists Hadley Cantril, Hazel Gaudet, and Herta Herzog to study the phenomenon where some people seemed more susceptible to the effects of the radio broadcast as compared to others. What they found out was that those who were not frightened were not suggestible because they displayed what psychologists called a ???critical faculty??? (pg. 589). The lack of critical faculty was the lack of the ability to create a framework in which to check if the information were true. People who lacked critical faculty included those in the lower income bracket or educational level, as they would have considerably limited sources of information to refer to (pg. 582). Radio was the most accessible media for them and would be a reason why they seemed to exhibit the most panic. The psychologists behind this paper could be likened to early communication researchers who delved into the mind in order to better understand ones behaviors. They performed standard research methodology including interviewing 135 persons as their sample...

Words: 859 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Critical Analysis #2

...Critical Analysis #2 – Article Critique Brent Melnyk Ethical Fundamentals – JRSB311 Wes Sallenback February 5, 2013 Sarah O’Donnell, on May 11, 2009, wrote an article for the Edmonton Journal entitled, 'No-zero' policy gives students a do-over; Deadlines in the adult world often just as flexible. She describes the Edmonton Public Schools policy of “No-Zero” and allows for both sides of a touchy subject to be heard. On June 1, 2012, Edgar Schmidt, the superintendent for Edmonton Public Schools, penned an open letter to the citizens of Alberta. He wrote “In order for students to be successful in school and in life, they need the knowledge, skills and attitudes to make a smooth transition into the world of work and post secondary education. By taking an all or nothing approach to a missed assignment, we are not doing our job as educators to prepare all students, including those who face significant challenges, to take the next step in their educational journey as a lifelong learner.” (Schmidt, 2012, Para 6.) Schmidt (2012) also said, “The reason we assign a certain grade is to give a student feedback on what they have learned. If a student writes a test and gets all the answers wrong, they are assigned a zero on that test. This tells the teacher the student does not know the material and needs extra support. The mark is then put in the context of all their other learning that takes place during the year. If, by the end of the year, the student...

Words: 1841 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Using Materiel from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Usefulness of Subcultural Theories in Explaining Subcultural Crime and Deviance in Society Today. (21 Marks)

...A subcultural theory is a deterministic theory that sees individuals as entirely shaped by the way society is structured or organised, this means that the subcultures share norms and values that are different to those that are shared by mainstream society as those within the subculture have rejected mainstream norms and have become inverted because the mainstream values have failed them as is illustrated by item A. These subcultural theories are used and developed by different sociologists in order to explain why crime and deviance happens, functionalists see society as socialising individuals into shared norms and values that dictate how they will behave showing why those who are part of a subculture reject society and participate in crime and deviance because they enable a person to have a sense of identification. However theses subcultural theories cannot always explain the trend in crime and deviance as there are many contributing factors as to why crime and deviance happens. Merton is a functionalist who has developed a theory in order to explain why crime and deviance happens which has then been developed further by other sociologists in to the form of subcultural theories. Merton’s strain theory is the basis of subcultural theories and he explains that the reason for deviance is the result of strain between the goals that society encourages individuals to achieve and what society actually allows them to achieve through legitimate means which leads them to commit deviance...

Words: 1391 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Scientific Inquiry

...Scientific Inquiry Javier Bryon AIU Online Abstract By using the controlled experimental method we can prove or disprove hypothesis in question. During the experiment we can come to a conclusion on whether further experimentation is needed or other hypothesis need to be implemented to solve a question. Introduction Blue porch ceilings are quite prevalent along the east coast, there are many theories as to why, from keeping evil spirits out of the home to fooling spiders and wasps into thinking that the ceilings are actually the sky. Many old houses around the Victorian and Colonial era bear this color in their porches due to the popularity at the time, but even now the popularity of the color is prevalent. Besides keeping evil spirits from entering the homes and fooling bugs, the blue ceiling reminds the owners of the blue skies even on cloudy days. Hypothesis The blue paint used in the painting of porches of the Victorian and Colonial homes contains an ingredient that repels insects, a natural insecticide used in the popular paint color. Prediction If there is an ingredient that naturally repels insects in the blue paint then the results should be obvious. Painting two porches ceilings one with blue paint and another one with white paint should demonstrate that the one with blue paint is bug free during the time of the experiment. Controlled Experimental Method First three enclosures were built; enclosure number one ceiling is painted sky blue. Enclosure...

Words: 662 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Testing a Theory

...Testing A Theory PSY/201 May 12, 2013 A couple of years ago, I decided to test a theory on myself by trying to lose fight while gaining more muscle mass. I have heard so many different theories on how to lose fat while gaining muscle mass, but I could not find a good routine that gave me the best results. Before I began my research, I had to think critical about what was causing me to gain fat, and why my workout routine was not as effective on myself as it was for others. I began to search for credible sources on the Internet, so that I can have a better understanding of the relationship between nutrition and the human body. Once my understanding on nutrition was clear, I then began to do research on fat burning and strength conditioning. After my research was complete, I began to test these theories on myself. I created a chart that kept track of each exercise, the amount of repetitions completed, weight loss or gain, and body fat percentage. I used this chart to compare my before and after results within 90 days, and the end results were stunning. I could lower my body fat percentage, and gain more muscle mass, which was exactly what I wanted. The type of informal research that was used to test this theory was experimental research. According to the textbook, Psychology and Your Life, it tells us about experimental research, which states, “Investigator produces a change in one variable to observe the effects of that change on other variables” (Ch. 1, pg. 33)...

Words: 464 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Scientific Method

...scientific method was trying to plant roses and trying to keep them alive. I would plant the roses and water them and even planted them in the sun. I would not try to figure out why they would keep dying. If I would have went through and tried fertilizer and tried to figure out why they kept dying then I would have at least came to a conclusion. If I would have found out how to take care of roses and then started to water them the way they are supposed to be watered and gave the roses the fuel they need to live they would not have died. I would have first seen how to take care of roses. Then I would have measured out the water and how much sun they needed and applied that then tested my theory I could have seen if they would have lived. If the roses had died after that then I would have tested other theories to see what works like trying to put fertilizer around the base of the rose bush to see if the ground was not the reason the roses were dying. If the ground does not have enough nutrients then the roses would not have been able to get the food it needed from the...

Words: 370 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Biology Scientific Method

...Scientific Method Sharon Childers Unit 1 Individual Project May 5, 2013 Biology American Intercontinental University Biology is the study of life. When studying Biology one will study the way organisms live and their lives. How are humans created? How are cell formed? What is DNA made of? All of these questions are some form of Biology. Even the color of certain birds is a part of Biology. When dealing with the Sciences you will come across the Scientific Method. This method consists of: Question, Hypothesis, Research, Experiment, Analysis and Conclusion. Below we will discuss a question and complete the steps of the Scientific Method to come up with an answer to the question. Question Do ruby-throated hummingbirds prefer some colors more than others when visiting flowers? Hypothesis In my opinion I believe hummingbirds prefer bright colors opposed to darker colors. The hummingbird has a red throat so considering that I would think they prefer red or something similar to red when it comes to picking flowers to visit. Research Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are primarily in the United States. These small birds are hard to find in the sky because they are only 2-3 in and can flap their wings 53 times in one second. That’s kind of hard to believe or even imagine. When it comes to the type of feeder a hummingbird feeds on doesn’t really matter. They tend to eat from any kind of feeder. When it comes to flowers they prefer, red and yellow are their preference...

Words: 407 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay


...relevant to modern society. Poverty tends to be the greatest ill that plagues the Filipino as a society. The poor ranges from poor, very poor, and to the very, very poor. The topic URBAN POOR was selected from a group of topics given and then given emphasis by the author according to the relevance of this specific group in today's world. Each condition is specifically analyzed in different aspects and parts to further understand the study. In doing so, one will be able to broaden one's ideas and analysis in certain conditions in relation to the topic about Urban poor. This will also have an analysis of their general condition using a theory application- which most probably is CONFLICT THEORY, a theory discussed in class with relation to the Sociological Theories presented. This paper was developed as a requirement and further study of the Sociological Theories presented in class and as a meaningful output of all the lectures and discussions that happened during class. Analysis was done by choosing a theoretical orientation from the ones discussed in class. Students and professionals are the intended audiences of this study. This study will hopefully be of help in the development of concrete analysis and plans not just towards the Sociological development of the urban poor, but of the holistic development as well. The informations contained in this study were based on researches provided by related literature and on- line based sources, more of secondary sources. Sources related...

Words: 323 - Pages: 2

Free Essay


...Fuller, Morris, Elwell, W H Kent, and Kohler. There were also many different views on the atonement expressed. One particular author who’s work that stuck out to me was L Morris. Within Morris’ writing it seamed that several views on the atonement were touched. The thing that struck me about all the different viewpoints is while some of the views could seem as if to build off of each other, other views contradicted each other. For instance the Moral Influence theory insists that man’s sin is taken away when he answers in love to Christ’s sacrifice. This Moral Influence theory shares some similarities with the Sacrifice theory, which states that Christ’s sacrifice is the important component in atonement. Another theory that Morris discusses, Atonement as Victory, takes the Sacrifice theory even further and states that God’s strength is the driving force behind the atonement. There were many more theories discussed my Morris and the other authors that can be discussed but it seems to me that none of theses ideas or theories seem to present a solid model that can be steadily applied to the teachings of Scripture. When it comes to Dr. Elmer Towns view of the...

Words: 530 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Personality Paper

...personality, most definitions refer to a person’s mental system. This accumulation of psychological collections will include emotions, motives, and thoughts. ”Personality includes all those relatively permanent traits or characteristics that render some consistency to a person’s behavior” (Fiest & Fiest, 2009). Traits among individuals may be unique, mutual with few, or common among an entire species; however, the pattern will always be different for each and every person. People may share similar thoughts, views, etc; but they are still very much unique. The Scientific Approach to Studying Personality When examining theoretical approaches to the study of personality, “people confuse theory with philosophy, speculation, hypothesis, or taxonomy (Fiest & Fiest, 2009. Scientists use theories and detective reasoning to formulate hypothesis that...

Words: 1085 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

The Standard Formula of an Article in Applied Ethics

...view will be presented and explained before the author presents his or her own view. Optionally, the author may raise objections to other views on the subject before presenting his or her own view. 2. Proposal of a theory (or principle) which can be used to analyze the case All case analyses must have some theoretical framework on which they are based. Without a framework that illustrates clear behavior-guiding principles, any case analysis will lack compelling support and risk incoherence. 3. Critical analysis of the theory and explanation of why it is superior to alternative theories or principles If the theory has unacceptable flaws, then any case analysis based on that theory or principle will inherit related flaws. Consequently, the author must defend the theory against opposing viewpoints by offering supporting arguments and responding to objections. Any mysterious or puzzling concepts must also be clarified. 4. Application of the theory to the case in question Once the theory or principle has been established and defended, the author analyzes the case using the theory and its core principles as a guide and explains the conclusions that are reached. 5. Critical analysis of the theory’s application to the case in question After analyzing the case using the theory, the author evaluates the...

Words: 784 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Associationism Learning Theory

...Associationism Learning Theory Psychology is a very complex idea to study. With so many different theories written by many different theorists it is almost impossible to say when and how psychology was started. One of the earliest theories is the associationism learning theory which is known as the beginnings of a cognitive theory. Associationism is a theory that explains how items combine in the mind to produce thoughts and learning. Tracing all the way back to Aristotle, this learning theory is quite easy to understand and has a great history of great minds associated with it. The basis of associationism is quite easy to understand. Items are associated in the mind through a person’s experience. These items then form a thought. For example, we know not to touch a pan coming out of the oven because the pan will be hot, and we know that touching something hot will cause pain, therefore we do not touch the pan. Typically there are four principles of associationism which were assumed to hold true for 2000 years; the law of contiguity, the law of frequency, the law of similarity, and the law of contrast. The law of contiguity states that items that are contiguous in time or space are lined by associations (Lucas, 2002). In other words, things or events that occur close to one another tend to get linked together in the mind. If you see a coffee cup you may think of drinking coffee. Psychologists Edwin Ray Guthrie is remembered for his theory of learning based on association...

Words: 1479 - Pages: 6