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Utilitarianism Essays (Examples)

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Utilitarianism utilitarian ethics was first.

Today's laws consider human life the highest of all rights. Hence also the ethical difficulty relating to abortion. Although abortion might be the utilitarian course of action; the mother does not have the finances to support a baby: there is no husband; the baby will not have access to his or her basic rights as a person, the ethical viewpoint of many fundamentalists is that it simply cannot be morally justified to kill an unborn baby. The problem related to utilitarianism and humanity is therefore the fact that human beings are generally emotionally involved in their decision making. Utilitarianism divorces emotion from the decisions to be made. This can also be seen in Marilyn's story. Barton's and the Commander's emotions are clearly deeply touched by Marilyn's predicament and please. The reader's emotions are similarly touched. Interestingly, however, both the reader and Barton, and ultimately Marilyn, understand that the utilitarian way….

Utilitarianism the Philosophy of Utilitarianism

Lastly, it runs counter to the view that morality is essentially related to the concept of justice. Many critics of this theory argue that, "morality is not based on consequences of actions. Instead, it is based on the fundamental concept of justice" (Lee). In the final analysis, the dilemma in utilitarianism is that it unable to deal with a wide range of moral issue and actins and, as such, tends to subvert a more comprehensive and wide ranging understanding of morality and ethics. eferences Consequentialism. etrieved June 26, 2009, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism Hedonic Calculus. etrieved June 26, 2009, from ttp://www.utilitarianism.com/felicalc.htm Hostility and the Minimization of Suffering. etrieved June 26, 2009, from http://www.socrethics.com/www.negutil/www.monuism/NU.htm John Stuart Mill: Overview. etrieved June 26, 2009, from http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/m/milljs.htm Lee E. Introduction to Utilitarianism. etrieved June 26, 2009, from http://www.victorianweb.org/philosophy/utilitarianism.html Mill, John Stuart ( 1985) On Liberty. New York: John B. Alden. Mill J.H. (1863) UTILITAIANISM: Chapter 2. etrieved June 26, 2009, from http://www.utilitarianism.com/mill2.htm Most Common Criticisms….

Consequentialism. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism 

Hedonic Calculus. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from ttp://www.utilitarianism.com/felicalc.htm

Hostility and the Minimization of Suffering. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from  http://www.socrethics.com/www.negutil/www.monuism/NU.htm 

John Stuart Mill: Overview. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from  http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/m/milljs.htm

Utilitarianism A Closer Look Utilitarianism Is an

Utilitarianism: A Closer Look Utilitarianism is an old political theory. It has been put forth in one form or another by many political philosophers over the years as the basis for a good political system. Epicurus was one of the early proponents of utilitarianism, though he did not call it by that name. However, he did promote the idea that happiness or pleasure was a good indicator of moral decisions. Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sigwick, all well-known political philosophers, also put forth utilitarian ideas in their political philosophies. While a utilitarian political philosophy may have some uses in making decisions that affect a large number of people, such as the decision to go to war or the decision to raise taxes to pay for health care, utilitarianism does not take into consideration the distinctions between people. There is no room for individual thought or action in utilitarianism, as….

Utilitarianism as it Relates to Sports

Utilitarianism as it Relates to Sports There are many philosophies that make up the social and political structures of nations around the world. Many of these philosophies can also be applied to sports and sports related activities. The purpose of this discussion is to explore the concept of Utilitarianism. We will begin by defining the philosophy and addressing the beliefs of Utilitarians. We will then discuss how Utilitarian beliefs relate to sports. Utilitarianism Utilitarianism stems from the teachings of John Stuart Mills and Jeremy entham. The philosophy asserts, "that an action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the reverse of happiness -- not just the happiness of the performer of the action but also that of everyone affected by it."(West) Utilitarianism holds that even when the motivation behind an act is bad the consequences can be good. The founding fathers of the philosophy are said….

Bibliography

Bowers, Thomas. "Ethical Analysis Will Help Sports Media Avoid Pitfalls." 29 Oct 1999.  http://www.bus.indiana.edu/SEA/ethics.htm 

Criticisms of Utilitarianism.  http://www.siu.edu/~philos/faculty/Manfredi/intro/ethics/objutil.html 

Mills, John S. Utilitarianism. 1863. Online text.  http://www.utilitarianism.com /mill5.htm

Utilitarianism. http://www.lions.odu.edu/~demiller/494s03/utilitarianismnotes.pdf

Utilitarianism the Fall of Utilitarianism

The satisfaction derived from that is by reason of good will towards the common man and not some universal pleasure felt by all men. But what about pain? Is Mills seems to be stating that happiness is the absence of pain. But is not some pain beneficial? Our reaction to spoiled milk that prevents us from drinking it for example. ait, perhaps there are levels of pain that need to be analyzed as well. Good pain vs. Bad pain, there is certainly some credence there. Is there good pleasure and bad pleasure? According to Mills that should be true, yet he does not seem to define it so. Pain is also part of experience so in the experience of pain are the beginnings of the knowledge of pleasure, and perhaps the distinction between higher and lower pleasures that Mills is putting forth. Yet does that not make pain also a component….

Works Cited

Mills, John Stuart. "Utilitarainsim." Utilitarianism Resources. 2007. 13 Feb 2008  http://www.utilitarianism.com .

Utilitarianism as a Moral System Is Basically

Utilitarianism, as a moral system, is basically one in which one creates a moral and ethical system based not in each specific action having an essential moral component in and of itself, but in terms of defining the morality of an action by the ends that it is achieved. Moreover, in utilitarianism, morality is linked solely to the satisfaction of desires and thus represents a sort of ethical hedonism: Utilitarianism is an approach to mortality that treats pleasure or desire-satisfaction as the element in human good and that regards the morality of actions as entirely dependent upon on consequences or results for human (or sentient) well-being.... most subsequent utilitarians discard religious traditions and social conventions in favor of treating human well-being or happiness as the touchstone for all moral evaluation Honderich 890) Although this is basically true of all utilitarian systems, it would be both overly simplistic and greatly inaccurate to assume, therefore,….

Honderich, Ted. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995.

Leguin, Ursula K. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." Retrieved November 12, 2003 at http://pencible.tripod.com/pande/omelas.htm.

Utilitarianism Deontology Virtue Ethics Essay The Similarities

Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics Ethics essay: The similarities and differences between utilitarianism, deontological ethics, and virtue ethics Utilitarianism is the philosophy that all ethical decisions must strive to do 'the greatest good for the greatest number of people.' In this ethical system, the ethical actor functions as a moral observer, dispassionately making decisions without regard to him or herself or his or her personal investment in the decision. Utilitarianism is a system of consequence-based ethics. It evaluates ethics solely upon the outcomes of decisions, not whether the decisions are keeping with moral laws. Depending on the situation, different ethical actions may be required. "The greatest number" is said to include all who are "affected by the action in question with each to count as one, and no one as more than one" (Kay, 1997, Notes on utilitarianism). However, an obvious problem with utilitarianism is that defining what the 'greatest good' is in a….

Garrett (2005). Virtue ethics. Retrieved:

 http://www.wku.edu/~jan.garrett/ethics/virtthry.htm 

Kay, Charles. (1997). Notes on deontology. Ethical Theories. Retrieved:

 http://webs.wofford.edu/kaycd/ethics/deon.htm

Utilitarianism and Deontology

Utilitarianism and Deontology John Stuart Mill's theory of Utilitarianism and Immanuel Kant's Deontological theory approach the question of ethics from diametrically opposite points-of-view: "Consequentialist theories...try to ground moral judgments in human well-being. Kantian theories...try to ground moral judgments in the rational nature of the moral subject, whose inherent dignity they emphasize." (Aune & Berger, p. 125) It is the objective of this paper to briefly explain and compare the two theories. Mill's theory of Utilitarianism is considered a consequentialist theory of ethics for the simple reason that the theory propounds that the ethicality of actions is a function of their consequences. For Mill, that consequence was happiness because he deemed that goal as the one that human beings naturally sought out. Thus, he considered utilitarianism a morally optimal course of action, as it offered a path that was most useful to human beings. hile Mill's theory may have been based on a….

Aune, B., & Berger, F.R. "Moral Philosophy: Historical and Contemporary Essays."

Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1989.

Hudelson, R. "Modern Political Philosophy." Armonk, NY M.E. Sharpe, 1999.

Utilitarianism Applies to the Utility of the

Utilitarianism applies to the utility of the end result. There are, at least, two models that are similar in content: Mill and Benthams's Principle of Utility. Mill stated that it was the consequences of the good or bad action to the individual that determined morality of that action, whilst Bentham proposed moral consequence arising from "the greatest good for the greatest number of people." Pain and pleasure, he wrote, are our masters; and the hedonistic (or 'felicific') calulus should be used to determine this greatest happiness principle (Dinwiddy, 1989). Both Mill and Bentham advocate a system of ethics that depended on dissemination of the greatest amount of good to the largest quantity of people. In this case we have at least three individuals to consider: the psychologist himself, the students, and the department chair. Each -according to utilitarianism -- will need to consider the best that is (a) for the recipient,….

Dinwiddie, J.R. Bentham Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Modern Library classics. Ethics: the essential writings, New York: Modern Library, 2010.

Utilitarianism Case 1- Dating at Wal-Mart According

Utilitarianism Case 1- Dating at Wal-Mart According to utilitarianism, the physical act of adultery cannot be judged moral or immoral until situated by intention and circumstances. In this case, the married woman was separated from her husband and wasn't aware of the no-dating rule in the handbook. Further, there is no evidence of direct or immediate harm. The affair did not disrupt the workplace, cause internal turmoil or damage Wal-Mart's reputation as evidenced by the fact that the manager only became aware of the situation when papers were served at the store. Therefore, there is not significant justification to infringe on the employment rights of the couple by firing them. Case 2- Is email private? The interests of the few for the betterment of all should prevail in matters of workplace surveillance such as reading corporate email. The cases of the reporter and the supervisor are very different. The Los Angeles Times reporter did….

Utilitarianism a Philosophy First Espoused by Jeremy

Utilitarianism, a philosophy first espoused by Jeremy Bentham, embodies an important set of concepts in that it coincided with the re-thinking of what we know as liberalism. The liberalism of the early 19th century was a product of classical economics; it was the ideology of laissez-faire and the free market. However, utilitarianism was to offer an alternate set of opinions regarding the role of government in society; utilitarians such as Bentham and Mill questioned some of the more libertarian principles espoused by British economists Adam Smith and avid Ricardo. This set of principles implored government to take a pro-active role in providing a quality standard of living to the majority of the people living within the society. Unlike socialism and other contemporaneous ideas, however, utilitarianism had implicit constraints; it was to inspire the 'progressive' liberalism of the 20th century and result in the modern concept of liberalism as an ideology….

Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Anarchism.  http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-12 

Wikipedia: William Godwin. http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Godwin

Wikipedia: Mary Wollstonecraft. http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Wollstonecraft

Utilitarianism as the Text Points

Bentham is looking for measurable outcomes, because he wants to quantify ethics instead of leaving it up for endless debate. Good intentions can lead to undesirable consequences, which is why it is important to think through actions and consider all possible outcomes. If the outcome harms others, then the action was morally wrong. It makes more sense to critique actions than motives. According to Bentham, "there is no such thing as a motive which is a bad one in itself," (cited on p 279). Motives cannot be measured as well as consequences can. Giving a gift to someone is usually a good thing, even if the gift-giver gives grudgingly. Likewise, a donation to charity has positive outcomes, even if the person is motivated by guilt. The hedonistic calculus can also explain why crises often lead to opportunities for growth and positive change. A divorce, which could be measured as morally….

Utilitarianism Ethics as it Relates to Fisheries

Utilitarianism Ethics as it elates to Fisheries Fishing is an organized activity of people to catch fish or other marine organisms. Normally, fishery is a source of human food, even though it also serves other objectives like sport or recreational fishing or getting ornamental fish or fish products for extraction of fish oil. Industrial fisheries are those where the catch is not considered for direct consumption for humans. (Fishery: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Ethical dilemma we are facing enlight of the shortage of fishing areas and the abundance or lack of abundance of fish in those areas Overfishing can be a threat to our food supply. According to some scientist, it will cause massive changes in the ecology of the ocean like degradation of reefs, damage to bottom grasses, eutrophication of estuaries. Even though application of fertilizer, runoff, sedimentation are damaging the ecosystems, it is been argued that overfishing has been the main….

'Decommissioning, abandonment and removal of obsolete offshore installations"

Retrieved from http://www.offshore-environment.com/abandonment.html

Accessed 18 September, 2005

"Fisheries: Commission proposes measures to protect dolphins and porpoises"

Utilitarianism Is Based on the

Jim is faced with a life or death decision; he holds the lives of many in his hands. He can either let an entire tribe die, or kill one tribe member to allow the rest of the tribe to live. In this circumstance, some people would say that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. However, as a Rule Utilitarian, Jim will consider the ruling against murder. If he commits murder, he will be breaking one of the oldest rules in the book. Murder is recognized as a crime in nearly every civilization, and breaking this rule would go against the Rule Utilitarianism's principles. On the other hand, Rule Utilitarianism follows rules so strictly because most of the time rules should be followed. In the case of murder, most of the time people should not go against this rule and commit such an act. However, there….

Utilitarianism Is One a Normative Ethical Philosophy

Utilitarianism is one a normative ethical philosophy, and it stands as one of the most important of its type. At its heart, utilitarianism is a consequentialist philosophy, in that the ethics of an action are dependent on the consequences of an action. Before the advent of utilitarianism, consequentialist philosophy emphasizes the self, in particular hedonism, but utilitarianism expanded the scope of consequences to include those to all society. Today, such scope has arguably been expanded further so that outcomes to the environment and other non-human entities is also taken into consideration (Driver, 2014). The most common distillation of utilitarian philosophy is in the phrase "the greatest good for the greatest number." Core Concept If the morality of a decision rests on its consequences, that places significant onus on the decision-maker to consider the full range of those consequences. In early consequentialism, the consequences considered were largely to oneself, making it relatively easy….

Driver, J. (2014). The history of utilitarianism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved March 23, 2015 from  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/utilitarianism-history/ 

Weinstein, D. (2012). Herbert Spencer. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved March 23, 2015 from  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spencer/#SpeLibUti

What is the point of a normative theory essay?

Normative theory provides an absolutist framework for approaching philosophy and the soft sciences, and has a special application in philosophy, law, and the social sciences.  Normative theory states that some things are morally superior to other things.  They are concerned with right or wrong and have a goal of changing institutions, values, or norms to reflect the “right” or “good” perspective.  Obviously, since normative theory focuses on what is good, it also involves moral judgments of what is bad.

To understand normative theory, it may help to think about the concept of sin.  Even if you....

Can you provide essay topic ideas related to political theory?

1. The Concept of Justice in Rawls and Nozick's Political Theory: - Analyze and compare John Rawls' and Robert Nozick's theories of justice. - Discuss the implications of their views on social and economic equality. - Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their respective arguments. 2. Utilitarianism vs. Deontology: A Comparative Analysis: - Compare and contrast the ethical theories of utilitarianism and deontology. - Explore the strengths and weaknesses of each theory in terms of their application to political decision-making. - Discuss the relevance of these theories in contemporary political debates. 3. The Legitimacy of Political Authority: - Examine different theories of....

Could you help me draft an essay outline about people

Outline: The Complexity of Human Nature I. Introduction A. Hook: Begin with a thought-provoking question or anecdote that highlights the enigma of human nature. B. Thesis statement: State the central argument that humans are multifaceted beings with both noble and darker impulses. II. The Social Facet A. Prosociality: Discuss humans' capacity for empathy, altruism, and cooperation. - Cite evolutionary theories on the benefits of social behavior. - Provide examples of individuals who display extraordinary acts of kindness. B. Conformity: Analyze the tendency to follow group norms, even when they conflict with personal beliefs. - Explain the psychological mechanisms behind conformity. - Discuss....

can you help me make an outline of a research proposal entitled ethical implications of ai in society

I. Introduction A. Background and Significance - Emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and its increasing presence in society - Potential benefits of AI, such as automation, efficiency, and personalized experiences B. Ethical Concerns - Ethical implications of AI in areas such as: - Privacy and data security - Job displacement and economic inequality - Bias and discrimination - Automation of decision-making and accountability II. Literature Review A. Existing Research on Ethical Implications of AI - Review of previous studies that have examined ethical issues related to AI - Identification of key ethical concerns and perspectives B. Theoretical Frameworks - Discussion of ethical theories that can be applied to AI, such as: ....

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Today's laws consider human life the highest of all rights. Hence also the ethical difficulty relating to abortion. Although abortion might be the utilitarian course of action; the…

Lastly, it runs counter to the view that morality is essentially related to the concept of justice. Many critics of this theory argue that, "morality is not based on…

Utilitarianism: A Closer Look Utilitarianism is an old political theory. It has been put forth in one form or another by many political philosophers over the years as the basis…

Utilitarianism as it Relates to Sports There are many philosophies that make up the social and political structures of nations around the world. Many of these philosophies can also be…

The satisfaction derived from that is by reason of good will towards the common man and not some universal pleasure felt by all men. But what about pain? Is…

Utilitarianism, as a moral system, is basically one in which one creates a moral and ethical system based not in each specific action having an essential moral component in…

Utilitarianism, Deontology, Virtue Ethics Ethics essay: The similarities and differences between utilitarianism, deontological ethics, and virtue ethics Utilitarianism is the philosophy that all ethical decisions must strive to do 'the greatest…

Utilitarianism and Deontology John Stuart Mill's theory of Utilitarianism and Immanuel Kant's Deontological theory approach the question of ethics from diametrically opposite points-of-view: "Consequentialist theories...try to ground moral judgments in…

Utilitarianism applies to the utility of the end result. There are, at least, two models that are similar in content: Mill and Benthams's Principle of Utility. Mill stated that…

Utilitarianism Case 1- Dating at Wal-Mart According to utilitarianism, the physical act of adultery cannot be judged moral or immoral until situated by intention and circumstances. In this case, the married…

Utilitarianism, a philosophy first espoused by Jeremy Bentham, embodies an important set of concepts in that it coincided with the re-thinking of what we know as liberalism. The liberalism…

Bentham is looking for measurable outcomes, because he wants to quantify ethics instead of leaving it up for endless debate. Good intentions can lead to undesirable consequences, which is…

Transportation - Environmental Issues

Utilitarianism Ethics as it elates to Fisheries Fishing is an organized activity of people to catch fish or other marine organisms. Normally, fishery is a source of human food, even…

Jim is faced with a life or death decision; he holds the lives of many in his hands. He can either let an entire tribe die, or kill one…

Utilitarianism is one a normative ethical philosophy, and it stands as one of the most important of its type. At its heart, utilitarianism is a consequentialist philosophy, in that…

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In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Utilitarianism

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Utilitarianism by Ben Eggleston LAST REVIEWED: 29 November 2022 LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2022 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0431

Utilitarianism is a moral theory that judges actions based on their consequences—specifically, based on their effects on well-being. Most utilitarians take well-being to be constituted largely by happiness, and historically utilitarianism has been known by the phrase “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” As the second part of this phrase suggests, utilitarianism is concerned with the well-being of all people, not just the person who performs an action or the people most directly affected; in fact, because nonhuman animals can also experience pleasure and pain, their well-being also counts in the moral assessment of actions, according to most utilitarians. Thus, a simple statement of the utilitarian view is that an action is right if and only if it brings about at least as much overall well-being as any action the agent could have performed instead. Controversially, this means that, according to utilitarianism, in principle, any type of action—such as lying, stealing, or even killing someone—could conceivably be condoned by utilitarianism if, in the particular circumstances, it would produce at least as much overall well-being as anything else the agent could have done. Utilitarians tend to condemn such actions because they tend to reduce overall well-being, but they hold that the impact on well-being is what makes such actions wrong—not their being prohibited by conventionally accepted moral rules, the commands of a deity, principles of human rights, or other considerations that can conflict with the fundamental moral goal of maximizing overall well-being. In addition to the straightforward form of utilitarianism summarized above, there are other forms of the view, such as ones that judge acts not in terms of their direct effects on overall well-being, but in terms of their compliance with rules whose general acceptance tends to promote well-being. All forms of the view, however, hold that the moral assessment of acts derives directly or indirectly from the fundamental utilitarian moral criterion of the maximization of overall well-being.

For most readers, de Lazari-Radek and Singer 2017 is the best work to start with. They will then be well-situated to enjoy the debate between Smart 1973 and Williams 1973 . They can then turn to Brink 2006 to appreciate the place of utilitarianism within consequentialism and several issues that arise there.

Brink, David O. “Some Forms and Limits of Consequentialism.” In The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory . Edited by David Copp, 380–423. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195325911.003.0015

An overview of the general consequentialist approach to ethics, situating utilitarianism within that approach. The chapter is divided into twenty sections, providing clarity of organization and enabling the reader to home in on topics of particular interest. The introduction and sections 1–8 (pp. 380–398) are especially important and accessible.

de Lazari-Radek, Katarzyna, and Peter Singer. Utilitarianism: A Very Short Introduction . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

DOI: 10.1093/actrade/9780198728795.001.0001

A brief and accessible introduction to utilitarianism, by two leading contemporary utilitarian theorists, covering the historical roots of the view, arguments in support of it, objections, different varieties of the view, and its contemporary relevance. Probably the best choice for most readers looking for a brief but substantial introduction presupposing no prior philosophical background.

Smart, J. J. C. “An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics.” In Utilitarianism: For and Against . Edited by J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams, 3–74. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1973.

One of the classic defenses of utilitarianism, emphasizing act utilitarianism in particular, and a hedonistic theory of well-being. Brief, direct, and uncompromising. Some aspects of Smart’s view have been superseded by subsequent developments in utilitarian thought, but Smart’s essay is still well worth the time required to read it. Best read just before Williams 1973 .

Williams, Bernard. “A Critique of Utilitarianism.” In Utilitarianism: For and Against . Edited by J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams, 77–150. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1973.

One of the classic critiques of utilitarianism, by one of the most influential ethicists of the twentieth century, written with his customary verve. The essay’s examples and arguments on two topics—negative responsibility and what has come to be called the integrity objection—have become mainstays of the critical literature on utilitarianism. Even proponents of utilitarianism who consider Williams’s objections misguided generally acknowledge his critique as seminal. Best read just after Smart 1973 .

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Bentham and Utilitarianism

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The importance of happiness as an end for humans has long been recognized. Forms of hedonism were put forward by Aristippus and Epicurus; Aristotle argued that eudaimonia is the highest human good; and Augustine wrote that “ all men agree in desiring the last end, which is happiness ”.

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The fact that this equated ownership “in common” with ownership by the State, which meant (in effect) ownership by the small group of unelected leaders of the communist party running the system, was not obvious at first. The terrible flaw in that assumption only became evident when it was put into practice in Russia after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

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Ayres, R.U. (2023). Bentham and Utilitarianism. In: The History and Future of Economics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-26208-1_9

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Utilitarianism the Philosophy of Utilitarianism Has Serious Thesis

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Death Penalty: Utilitarian View on Capital Punishment

Introduction, overview of utilitarianism: death penalty, utilitarian view on capital punishment, utilitarian argument against death penalty, works cited.

The death penalty is arguably the most controversial legal punishment imposed by the Criminal Justice System of our country. This form of punishment stands out from the rest due to its harshness and severity. There is general agreement that capital punishment is the most severe punishment that a judge can give an offender.

Due to the perceived severity of the death penalty, there has been intense controversy surrounding the issue. Opponents of the death penalty declare that it is barbaric and inhumane hence the government should do away with it. On the other hand, its supporters maintain that the death penalty is a necessary form of punishment that should be used on the most vicious offenders in society.

The highly polarized debate on the death penalty has continued to exist for decades. Ethical theories can be used to come up with a solution to this highly controversial issue. Ethics determine what is the right course of action in a given situation. A number of solid ethical theories have been proposed by scholars and philosophers over the years. This paper will make use of one of the most widely applied ethical theories, which is utilitarianism, to demonstrate that the death penalty is indeed justified.

Utilitarianism is a popular and widely applied ethical theory that was first proposed by John Stuart Mill. According to this theory, the moral nature of an action can be deduced by calculating its net utility. According to the utilitarian, an ethical action is one that “maximizes the happiness for the largest number of people”. Actions are viewed as having either benefits or negative consequences.

Individuals should act in a manner that increases the benefits since if the consequences outweigh the benefits, the action will be considered unethical. From a utilitarian perspective, actions that promote the happiness of the majority in society should be pursued while those that deter this happiness should be avoided. The utilitarian theory can be applied to the issue of capital punishment since this form of punishment produces both positive and negative consequences.

Net Benefits

The first major benefit offered by the death penalty is that it plays a significant deterrence role. The most important goal of the criminal justice system is to discourage people from engaging in crime.

This is achieved by attaching punishments to crimes so that a person perceives the merits of engaging in illegal actions as being outweighed by the consequences. As such, an ideal society would be one where no one is punished since the threat of punishment keeps everyone from engaging in crime. The death penalty is the most severe punishment and its availability is likely to deter people who might not be scared by long prison sentences.

Research indicates that there is a negative relationship between executions and murder incidents thereby suggesting that the death penalty plays a deterrence role (Kirchgassner 448). From a utilitarian perspective, the deterrence role is ethical since it contributes to the overall happiness of the society. When criminals are deterred from engaging in crime, the society is safer and people enjoy the peace and security in their communities.

Another significant benefit offered by the death penalty to the society is that it leads to the permanent incapacitation of the convicted person. Unlike other forms of punishment which only restrict some of the freedoms of the offender, the death penalty takes away his life.

Once the convicted person is executed, the community can be assured that he/she will never commit another vicious crime against the society members (Sunstein and Vermeule 848). While other forms of punishment such as life imprisonment also have an incapacitation effect, this effect is not as definite.

A person who has been imprisoned for life can still engage in vicious crimes against his fellow inmates or even the prison guards. The probability of recidivist murder is removed by implementing the death penalty. From a utilitarian point of view, this benefit is significant since it completely safeguards the society from future offences from a convict. The community’s peace of mind is also ensured since the death penalty permanently gets rid of vicious criminals, ensuring that they are not able to reenter society.

The death penalty leads to a sense of justice for the individuals affected by the crime perpetrated by the convicted person. As has been highlighted, the death penalty is only given to individuals who have engaged in vicious crimes such as violent murder. When a person commits a violent murder, he causes significant emotional distress to the family and friends of the victim (Stambaugh and Gary 1).

This pain and suffering can be alleviated if the convicted person is given a punishment that fits his crime. Without the death penalty, the convicted person is given a long prison sentence. This might expose the family of the victims to future emotional suffering as they might be required to attend parole hearings for the convict. The death penalty provides maximum retribution and therefore gives peace to the family and friends of the victim.

The final benefit of the death penalty is that it gives the judge the ability to provide adequate retribution for any crime. For justice to be served, it is necessary for the severity of the punishment to equal the crime committed. If the punishment is regarded as lenient, then there will be a sense of injustice by society members.

There are crimes that cannot be punished satisfactorily without the death penalty. Without the death penalty, people found guilty of these crimes would be given the maximum life imprisonment sentence. This would create a sense of injustice therefore decreasing the credibility of the justice system.

This might cause people to engage in extrajudicial killings (Steiker and Jordan 649). A utilitarian approach would support a punishment that leads to a sense of justice and hence increases the credibility of the justice system. Capital punishment fulfils this role and leads to the perception of justice therefore preventing the breakdown in law and order that might occur if people seek out their own justice.

A significant consequence of the death penalty is that is has a high fiscal cost compared to the alternatives. The taxpayers have to shoulder the financial burden associated with implementing the death penalty. Traditionally, the death penalty was considered to be a cheaper method of punishing convicts compared to the alternative, which is a longer prison term. However, this has changed as procedures that are more stringent have been put in place when dealing with capital cases.

Instead of tackling these cases as other criminal cases, the prosecutor and defender are required to be thorough and make use of expert witnesses. Once the judgment has been passed, the offender can engage in numerous appeals making the case last for many years. While it is possible to reduce the costs associated with capital punishment, such a move would require neglecting some of the procedural safeguards put in place to ensure that the risk of wrongful conviction is reduced to the minimal.

From a utilitarian perspective, the huge financial cost is a negative consequence to the society. Opponents of capital punishment point out that the society would benefit more if the money currently used to sustain the death penalty was used for other pursuits such as building rehabilitation centers or increasing the police force in order to deter crime in the community (Dieter par.15).

Another major consequence of the death penalty is that it might lead to a miscarriage of justice. If this happens, an innocent person can be put to death by the criminal justice system. While miscarriages of justice occur even in non-capital cases, there is the hope that the innocent person can be exonerated in the future through appeals.

However, the death penalty is final and once the sentence has been carried out, there is no chance for the innocent person to challenge the wrongful conviction and attain his freedom. Aronson and Cole reveal that the danger of wrongful conviction remains to be the most dominant issue in capital punishment discussions (604).

This situation can lead to a crisis of confidence in capital punishment since killing an innocent person is unacceptable. To a utilitarian, the wrongful killing of an innocent person is a great loss to the society since he can no longer make a positive contribution to his society. In addition to this, wrongful execution might lead to emotional distress by the people who were involved in the trial. It therefore has a negative impact and reduces the happiness of the society.

Ethical Analysis

To determine the ethical nature of an action using utilitarianism, one must weigh the benefits against the consequences. In this case, the benefits of the death penalty include deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and the preservation of law and order. On the other hand, the consequences include high fiscal cost and a potential loss of innocent lives.

As can be seen, the benefits of implementing the death penalty outweigh the consequences. It can therefore be asserted that the death penalty is ethical from a utilitarian perspective since it has a net beneficial effect, which leads to the maximization of the happiness of the greatest amount of people.

This paper set out to demonstrate the ethical nature of the death penalty using the utilitarian theory. It began by acknowledging that the death penalty issue is highly controversial and people are divided in their opinions concerning its usefulness.

The paper then demonstrated how the utilitarian theory, which seeks to maximize the happiness of the majority, could be used to ascertain the ethical nature of capital punishment. It has shown that the death penalty has major advantages to society including deterrence, incapacitation, and an increase in the credibility of the criminal justice system. However, the death penalty also has major consequences since it is costly to the citizen and it might lead to wrongful executions.

However, the benefits are more prominent and when implemented, the death penalty reaffirms the value of observing the law, thus creating a safer society for all citizens. From the arguments provided in this paper, it is clear that the death penalty has the most favorable results for the majority in society. This punishment should therefore be implemented more often in our country since it is ethically sound and leads to overall benefits to the society.

Aronson, Jay and Cole Simon. “Science and the Death Penalty: DNA, Innocence, and the Debate over Capital Punishment in the United States.” Law & Social Inquiry 34.3 (2009): 603-633. Print.

Dieter, Richard. “Capital Punishment Is Too Expensive to Retain.” Death Penalty Information Center 21.2 (2009): 1-2. Web.

Kirchgassner, Gebhard. “Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?” Kyklos 64.3(2011): 448-478. Web.

Stambaugh, Irl, and Gary Stam. “Death Penalty Would End Punishment of Victim’s Family.” Anchorage Daily News . 2009. Web.

Steiker, Carol and Jordan Morris. Capital Punishment: A Century of Discontinuous Debate. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 100.3 (2010): 643-689. Print.

Sunstein, Cass and Vermeule Adrian. “Deterring Murder: A Reply.” Stanford Law Review 58.1 (2005): 847–857. Web.

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  10. Utilitarian Arguments For Thesis Statement

    By applying the Rule-utilitarianism, we have noticed that another point of view that supports our thesis statement. According to the Rule-utilitarianism, the action which means that follow the rules that general acceptance and produce the greatest balance of happiness is right. We all know that the outlook of one person is a present from God ...

  11. Thesis Statements

    THE THESIS STATEMENT. The thesis statement is the conclusion of the paper. A good thesis statement is precise, succinct, and informative. It is not simply a statement of the general topic, interest or plan. ... Rule utilitarianism and Kantian ethics share certain similarities and differences. 10. Both rule utilitarianism and Kantian ethics ...

  12. Utilitarianism, Deontology, and the Priority of Right

    logical views affirm the consequentialist thesis that the Right maximizes the Good. But they hold an additional thesis: "the good is defined inde-pendently from the right" (TJ, p. 24), or, as Rawls often says, independ-ent of any moral concepts or principles.2 To see how this view differs from consequentialism, consider a thesis once proposed ...

  13. PDF The Misplaced Role of 'Utilitarianism' in John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism

    This thesis aims to provide the appropriate historical context for interpreting John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. The central question considered here concerns two views of Mill's intentions for Utilitarianism, and whether the work should be read as Mill arguing for his own version of utilitarianism, or as an ecumenical document expressing and

  14. The Interpretation of Maximizing Utilitarianism

    7 Dworkin rejects utilitarianism as unfair because he thinks that the self-oriented and external elements in any person's preference are sometimes "inextricably tied together" (ibid., 236).Prejudiced people may hold very intense preferences to avoid blacks or homosexuals, for example. In that case, "the personal preferences upon which a utilitarian argument must fix will be saturated ...

  15. Liberty University DIVINE UTILITARIANISM A Thesis Presented in Partial

    problem that this thesis confronts is that this area of Paley's work (namely, theological utilitarianism) has been long forgotten in the philosophy of religion. To work against this problem, this thesis will attempt to reawaken the argument for God as a utilitarian.

  16. Utilitarianism: An Ethical Decision Making Approach

    Massie and Douglas (1985) stated that a. rational decision making process includes: being conscious about the problem, diagnosing. the problem, evaluate various alternatives and the problem ...

  17. Utilitarianism Critique From Kantian Perspective Essay

    Utilitarianism Critique From Kantian Perspective Essay. Over the years, multiple standpoints to illuminate the morality of human actions have emerged. Humans have striven to produce a perfect theory to act as a point of reference when evaluating human actions. This has resulted in the emergence of a multitude of systems of beliefs.

  18. Just Better Utilitarianism

    Classical utilitarianism operates on three axioms: the maximization of happiness; the definition of happiness as pleasure and absence of pain; and impartiality between individuals in the calculation of happiness. 80 In political and healthcare decisions, abiding by these rules could make life easy, in theory at least.

  19. Bentham and Utilitarianism

    Utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individuals. ... It opens with a statement of the principle of ... Kelly pointed out in "Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice: Jeremy Bentham and the Civil Law" (PhD thesis 2009) Bentham's theory of ...

  20. Utilitarianism the Philosophy of Utilitarianism Has Serious Thesis

    Download 5-page thesis on "Utilitarianism the Philosophy of Utilitarianism Has Serious" (2024) … in terms of the larger and more complex aspects of its relationship to reality. As a theoretical and moral stance, utilitarianism posits the view that…

  21. Thesis Statement on Utilitarianism

    Download thesis statement on Utilitarianism in our database or order an original thesis paper that will be written by one of our staff writers and delivered according to the deadline. ... Utilitarianism Utilitarianism as a whole is considered to be any moral theory corresponding to which an action is right if and only if it conforms to the ...

  22. Death Penalty

    Introduction. The death penalty is arguably the most controversial legal punishment imposed by the Criminal Justice System of our country. This form of punishment stands out from the rest due to its harshness and severity. There is general agreement that capital punishment is the most severe punishment that a judge can give an offender.