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Utilitarianism is a moral theory which explains why actions, in particular, are right or wrong, and the outcomes that are focused based on the decision-making procedure which the theory advise people to engage in. This particular form of consequentialism also refers to as making a choice that produces an overall greater good and maximizes its positive consequences to people. This theory is the only moral form of justification for the use of military force, and it consists of some common characteristics which explain its costs and benefits in different scenarios. One of these scenarios can be referred to as doing business, and the conventional approach used while doing an activity. It separates the world of philosophies as morals usually make the essential philosophies of life through defining the decision-making mechanism that reflects on right and wrong (Mill, pp. 382). This essay would analyze this ethical theory by presenting a lived experience that I have lived in.
Mill defines the theory of Utilitarianism as a principle of doing the right action that tends to promote happiness amongst a group of people, and a wrong move can manage to produce discomfort and sadness. He defines this term as a mix of pleasure and pain which separates one response from the other depending on the course of action adopted in life. If I consider myself in life who is following Mill's theory of Utilitarianism, and living as one, I can merely quote myself through discussing the three things which I have done in life as a utilitarian. The first decision that I have made in accordance with this theory was to bring an increment on the salaries of all the employees who were working under me even when the company was going under loss. This decision may have reflected on the assessment of the company's status but was a good action and decision which brought collective happiness and benefited for many people.
Another decision which was made by me in accordance with the theory was providing an underprivileged yet highly successful and wealthy family with a child as they were having difficulty bearing one on their own. This decision although cost me my child but it brought great happiness for the family who was having trouble with getting pregnant due to some health issues (Felzmann, pp. 40). This kind of pragmatic approach is often the most widely used and significant approach. Lastly, the third decision which I made following the theory was to petition in the "leaving no child left to act” that helped the underprivileged and deprived children get homes and education for free by donating some amount of money in the petition. This choice even though it may have cost me money but have contributed to the collective good and has brought great happiness to those children.
Now each of these decisions that I have made in life as a utilitarian might have taken something from me, but in part, it gave a lot of emotions and happiness back to a group of people or a specific individual. Having to think about collective good at the lowest cost or consequence is the most common approach for a utilitarian. To have made all these decisions following my theory, I expect it was not that hard to think of the joy and wishes my decision was bringing for the group of people or individuals. Every choice I made might have put me in a fragile yet hard spot, but it brought a greater good to the people for whom these decisions were made. The reflection of each decision might have elaborated the factor of joy, depends on each decision (Baron, pp. 268). Partitioning for the underprivileged was a decision which I enjoyed, along with providing salary increment to all employees even when the company was going in loss.
However, the one thing which I could not enjoy was the thought of giving my child away to someone who could not bear a family of their own. This decision was a hard one to make, even though it came with a cost and was bringing joy and happiness to this couple. But a considerable sacrifice and an expense of life were being paid to produce this greatest good in return. Each choice is dependent on whether those were all acceptable course of actions or ethical decisions. Philosophy puts greats emphasize the normative ethics and the act of morality while focusing on the aspect of utilitarianism. There is a strong objection to the use of this theory in real life as it comes with a moral cost. The objection can be stated in terms of a person who is willing to donate his or her organs for many patients, and this would mean losing their own life.
This type of thing is missing from the theory, and even though it addresses the positive aspects, it fails to capture the consequences. It tends to deliver a wrong verdict as too its position where it is difficult to apply. This kind of objection made by a person using the theory of utilitarianism in real life can have serious problems. These problems are what causes a misunderstanding of the theory and limit the thought towards thinking what it means. The utility achieved will be much higher than the guilt which I would be facing in the opposite situation according to the theory of Utilitarianism that resembles the concept of the principle of utility. Our goodwill action will make him believe in morality, and he will do the same with others; consequently, continuing the good act chain (Rajczi, pp. 872). My life will be saved because of my presence at that moment and doing something about it.
Although a supporter would try to miss his chance of impressing that person with his appearance, life will give him many opportunities in the future to ask others out on another occasion. Similarly, we should even not lie when we are stealing money from someone. As in the former context, the consequence of the action was good, and in the latter regard, it was terrible. But here Mill's concept will remain the same for all the contexts, and we should not lie in any situation according to him. It is not necessary to name any action right or wrong based on its consequences but the motives it fulfills for us as Mill said. Because sometimes we give preference to ourselves despite all the conditions we are facing. We prioritize ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves first. However, that is the very reason that is mostly objectified and spoken in defense of the strategy.
The aforementioned analysis of the Utilitarianism theory and the objection presented in last discusses the misunderstanding of the theory rather than evaluating its positive aspects. It delivers a more flexible and emotional background to every decision that is made. This theory and the people who follow it such as myself, often succeed in life because of its more comprehensive response and the happiness to involves with not just the person who understands the theory but the people for whom the decisions are being intended for. In my personal opinion, the aforementioned defense against the objection outlines a successful approach towards understanding the theory. The reason why it successfully defends it is because of the number of people who statistically follow and choose this theory over other relevant theories such as the Kantian or other theories.
Baron, Jonathan, et al. "Why does the Cognitive Reflection Test (sometimes) predict utilitarian moral judgment (and other things)?." Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition 4.3 (2015): 265-284.
Felzmann, Heike. "Utilitarianism as an Approach to Ethical Decision Making in Health Care." Key Concepts and Issues in Nursing Ethics. Springer, Cham, 2017. 29-41.
Mill, John Stuart. "Utilitarianism." Seven masterpieces of philosophy. Routledge, 2016. 337-383.
Rajczi, Alex. "On the incoherence objection to rule-utilitarianism." Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19.4 (2016): 857-876.
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