Critics of Jeremy Benthem Utilitarianism Essay

Though there are many supporters of utilitarianism given the fact that this theory prioritizes the benefits of the happiness and satisfaction of the majority not the minority, there are some philosophers and scholar who critique its implications. – Distastefulness: The argument from distaste is often expressed as a suggestion that utilitarianism doesn’t provide enough support for individuals’ rights. It says that just in order to achieve its goal, utilitarianism won’t care about anything else but to make sure that it can satisfy the majority. What about the minority?

Will they get hurt? Moreover utilitarianism gives no special moral weight to justice. Maybe just outcomes will often produce more overall happiness than unjust ones. But in those cases in which an unjust outcome would produce more happiness, a utilitarian will need to favor it – Impossibility: The second most common criticism of utilitarianism is that it is impossible to apply – that happiness, for example, cannot be quantified or measured, that there is no way of calculating a trade-off between intensity and extent, or intensity and probability , or comparing happiness to suffering.

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Therefore, it is so difficult for us to justify or say that one action is categorized as utilitarianism or not. – Impracticality: The third most common criticism is that it is too difficult to apply – that we cannot calculate all the effects for all the individuals (either because of the large number of individuals involved, and/or because of the uncertainty). The principle of utility is, essentially, a description of what makes something right or wrong – so in order for it to fail, someone must give an example of something which is useful but obviously wrong.

The principle does not imply that we can calculate what is right or wrong – completely accurately, in advance, or at all! It is just impractical to calculate what is right or wrong as required by the theory. – Contracts and promises: Utilitarianism gives no special moral weight to things like promises and contracts. If the world would be a slightly better or happier place if I broke a promise, then, according to the utilitarian, I should break it. This is true for “act utilitarianism”; in the case of a variant called “rule utilitarianism,” which holds that we should use utilitarian criteria to evaluate rules rather than individual actions, the situation is more complicated. ) A standard example to illustrate this is the desert island promise. – Utilitarianism regards all happiness as equally good, regardless of who gets it. Making an awful person happy, for the utilitarian, is just as valuable as making a splendid person happy. Many people find this completely unacceptable, holding that happiness is of no value unless the happy person is morally good.