Posted at 02.10.2018
The idea in utilitarianism is usually that the moral worth of your action is set entirely by its value in providing delight or pleasure as summed among all conscious beings. It really is a kind of consequentialism, meaning that the moral well worth of any action depends upon its results. Thus the utilitarian maxim: the greatest good for the greatest number. The most significant contributors to utilitarianism were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.
The objection that I will focus on in this essay is a broad one but also I believe the most important and valid objection to the theory. The objection is that Utilitarianism ignores individuals and person rights.
John Rawls rises what I believe to be always a very good point in his objection to utilitarianism as he targets the issues of privileges, fairness and justice He asks is utilitarianism appropriate for the notion of undeniable rights indicating the rights we all poses as human beings and that can't be taken away from us and then asks in case a person could protect both views regularly.
Rawls answers this question with a no, in other words he doesn't believe that one could be a utilitarian and maintain his individual protection under the law. For the reason that the principal goal in a utilitarian population is the delight of the best number and not that of the average person. Utilitarian's see population on the model of a super person, who is able to control, deny or hold off the gratification of certain parts or folks with regard to better satisfaction of the whole. As a result the individuals who block the way of the grand plan simply don't matter. This is interpreted essentially as the individual has his protection under the law only so far as him having them doesn't interfere with the greatest happiness of the best number.
Rawls argues that there is something intuitively unfair relating to this and probably isn't the only person as Ayn Rand sets it " specific rights aren't subject to a public vote, a majority has no right to vote away the protection under the law of a minority, the politics function of protection under the law is precisely to safeguard minorities from oppression by majorities and the smallest minority on earth is the individual. "
The separateness of people discussion says that utilitarianism reaches society all together the theory of logical prudence for just one person. Fundamentally as that of an impartial, sympathetic spectator who imaginatively recognizes with almost every other member of the contemporary society thus conflating almost all their wishes within one experience. This enables the population to balance specific desires and needs, gains and loss as if these were one individual. The trouble with this of course is a society is not just one individual person. This approach treats the different individuals in a population as if they were of no more importance for purchasing of modern culture then the different stages of a person's life are because of its buying. But a modern culture comprises different and distinctly specific persons, each with its own life to lead, goals, ambitions, items of view, wants and so on. People can't be simply cashed out for experience since limitations between folks are of far greater importance and in truth define the very object of moral matter.
These objections were also brought up by Thomas Nagel who stated that utilitarianism 'treats the wishes, needs, satisfactions, and dissatisfactions of distinctive persons like they were of a brilliant person or one mass person' as well as David Gauthier who said utilitarianism supposes that mankind is a so called super-person, whose biggest satisfaction is the aim of moral action. This poses a huge problem as folks are those with desires and needs not the mass person and its individuals who seek satisfaction not a mass person. Individual's satisfaction is not part of any better satisfaction. Aggregation of tool becomes pointless as both hurting and delight are inseparable from the individual that seems them, rendering the task of adding up all the aches and pleasures of multiple individuals pointless and impossible.
The summary then is usually that the utilitarian must be mistaken because the denial of the separateness of people can only be predicated on believing society to be always a single aggregate super being. Because it denies the separateness of people it actually doesn't give equal concern to all or any persons rather giving equal concern to all interests and in doing so ignoring how various interests are built-into individual individuals lives.
People are individuals, with the own personal lives they directly experience only their own delight and unhappiness and since I am only with the capacity of experiencing my own personal psychological state governments, it's no settlement for me while i am unhappy that another person is happy meaning that utilitarianism wrongly applies the model of individual decision making to interpersonal context. Mill's most significant happiness principle says we should maximise joy but it doesn't say anything about the circulation of that delight using circumstances, the circulation that maximises enjoyment overall could make some individuals very unhappy which is surely incorrect to do horrible things to undeserving people for the benefit for others, because this is unjust according to Rawls, this is a morally repugnant summary.
Rawls as well as Nozick declare that utilitarianism doesn't respect the fact that folks are distinct beings. It centers exclusively on making the most of the greater contentment and does not take into consideration in the proper way how electricity is allocated among different individuals. For instance a huge moral problem is that utilitarianism sanctions injustice including the slavery of a few as long as it benefits the majority. The reason behind this is that it is a mainly collectivistic morality and as such places all its attention on aggregate enjoyment and does not show proper respect to the individuals. As Nozick highlights " to employ a person for another's benefit does not sufficiently respect and take bank account to the fact that he is a separate person, that his is the sole life he has. He will not get some overbalancing good from his sacrifice".
The problem for utilitarianism with this is not just it approves clear injustice because to that utilitarians can respond with multiple reasons directing out how injustice won't provide the higher good in the long run and therefore injustice really wouldn't be approved. The real problem is that even if it can reach the right bottom line it does so for the wrong reasons. The reason why i shouldn't kill you is not that you being alive offers a greater good for almost all but because I have an obligation for you as a person not to achieve this task, to place it one other way you have the right to reside.
Utilitarianism broken down to its bare bones is the greatest good for the greatest number or the greatest happiness rule. It models a framework for deciding which activities are morally good and that are bad. The theory is rooted in hedonism, or the theory that each specific is concerned only with activities that bring him pleasure and therefore concerned with actions that bring the society all together pleasure.
However, how much enjoyment the action results is not defined with regards to the person, because if the action brings pleasure to the individual but unhappiness to many other individuals, then your ratio of unhappiness is higher. Therefore, by definition, utilitarianism concerns itself only with the results of an action, and whether those repercussions increase enjoyment to the majority.
In answering how utilitarianism decides which privileges an individual has we look at it this way. In utilitarianism the average person has the right to something if and only when that individual has a valid promise on society for that something's cover, so rights are just justified if they're essential to contentment. Interestingly this isn't applied both ways indicating if a right is not essential to happiness then society is not required to protect the right and as a result there exists only conditional rights for humans in a utilitarian world.
The problem as far as individual rights are concerned is that the best happiness concept is a strictly aggregate process only concerning itself with the entire amount of delight. This of course poses issues as far as individual rights are worried, for example it could condone genocide. This is one way this may happen, say the population exterminates a portion of the population say a hundred people which creates joy among a more substantial portion of the population say one million people then utilitarianism says this action is fine because the result of the action would promote basic happiness or better happiness as oppose to the anguish. Now genocide is evidently not a good thing our good sense and humanity reveal it is never suitable to do such a thing. This is an example where there exists an extreme skew of the distribution of rights in a utilitarian world using the higher happiness process.
There are lots of other examples where utilitarianism in my thoughts and opinions fails and or involves the wrong summary one being the riot circumstance, when a sheriff who could stop the riot by lying and imprisoning an innocent person whom he realized was innocent, a utilitarian would endorse imprisoning the innocent person because it would prevent the needless suffering of others should the riot carries on. An innocent person is punished and this is justified due to the fact his imprisonment helps prevent future unjust serves from occurring. This is clearly wrong and goes against every intrinsic right we as humans have.
Just because something makes people happy doesn't make it right. Specifically it is wrong to damage certain individuals in order to make other people happy. Another great example of individual rights being disregarded by utilitarianism is the inhospitable medical center case where an individual checks into the hospital for tedious bank checks, there are three terminally unwell people also at that hospital needing immediate body organ transplants but no organs to provide them for the reason that situation the higher good principle indicate that it's on to wipe out the healthy patient and harvest his organs to save the other two as this will result in the greatest amount of enjoyment or good. Now I understand that there are some valid details utilitarian's can make against such a situation ever happening in true to life and what would happen to the ability of this hospital to provide adequate health care should term get out that a healthy person has been cut up for his organs but never the less this hypothetical situation does provide in my view an example that utilitarianism will come to some extremely bad conclusions and this the individual privileges objection to the purest form of utilitarianism to my head is actually a decisive objection. Now there are other forms of utilitarianism which we just can't dive into in this paper.
I believe individual rights are of vital importance, especially in the current era and I simply cannot start to see the society just how Mills seems to imagine it. People are individuals with their own goals and ambitions and surely while I am happy to work harder therefore i can have that big screen plasma or that car I am simply not inclined to work harder so Joe Bloke could have them. The thought of balancing of advantages to one individual against harms to some other that utilitarianism's person neutrality requires would only be acceptable if there is interpersonal reimbursement but as the objection of individual protection under the law or separateness of folks or whatever you want to call it shows: different people are specific beings living independent lives and there is in general no interpersonal settlement. I cannot believe in sacrificing one individual life for another or worse for someone's pleasure or violating their sacred specific rights as human beings. I simply cannot see modern culture as you super being where it's okay for someone to quit their one and only life or their happiness for other individuals especially strangers joy.
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