Outline the important features of utilitarianism

The formal postulate remains quite empty as long as it remains unclear when or through what features two or more persons or cases should be considered equal. Hence with the possible exception of Barbeufno prominent author or movement has demanded strict equality.

In the contemporary debate, this complaint has been mainly articulated in feminist and multiculturalist theory. Your only flavor options are chocolate and vanilla, and some of the people attending like chocolate while others like vanilla.

These further qualifications hint at the relatively limited purpose for which Rawls appeals, within PL, to this principle of legitimacy. A prescriptive use of equality is present when a prescriptive standard is applied, i.

The idea of equal or equivalent punishment, however, proves to be impractical. Classic utilitarianism focuses on total utility, so it seems to imply that this government should not provide free contraceptives.

Nonetheless, these discretionary actions are permitted because having a rule in these cases does not maximize utility or because the best rule may impose some constraints on how people act while still permitting a lot of discretion in deciding what to do.

Just distribution must be simultaneously insensitive to endowment and sensitive to responsibility. Any political theory abandoning this notion of equality will not be found plausible today. Stability In pursuing his novel topic of the justice of the basic structure of society, Rawls posed novel questions.

Wrong Answers and Crude Concepts Although rule utilitarians try to avoid the weaknesses attributed to act utilitarianism, critics argue that they cannot avoid these weaknesses because they do not take seriously many of our central moral concepts. PL at ; cf.

In a now commonly posed distinction, stemming from Dworkinp. That would in fact be morally perverse. But this does not mean that inequality as such is an evil. His father, a follower of Bentham and an adherent of associationismhad as his explicit aim to create a genius intellect that would carry on the cause of utilitarianism and its implementation after he and Bentham had died.

And this itself involves an assumption regarding just distribution; it is thus no independent criterion for justice. As we will see, the definite positive motivations that Rawls ascribes to the parties are crucial to explaining why they will prefer his principles to average utilitarianism.

How can rule utilitarianism do this? For this reason, egalitarians claim that it may be necessary to reduce pareto-optimality for the sake of justice if there is no more egalitarian distribution that is also pareto-optimal.

Any claim to a particular distribution, including any existing distributive scheme, has to be impartially justified, i. Preference utilitarianism is also often criticized on the grounds that some preferences are misinformed, crazy, horrendous, or trivial. In this sense, egalitarians tend to think of egalitarianism as a single coherent normative doctrine — but one in any case embracing a variety of principles.

From antiquity onward, equality has been considered a constitutive feature of justice. Essays toward a Morality of Consequence, Cambridge: In cases of lesser harms or deceitful acts that will benefit the liar, lying would still be prohibited, even if lying might maximize overall utility.

Rawls offers them various principles to consider. Since this theory makes actual consequences determine moral rightness, it can be called actual consequentialism.

John Stuart Mill

Harsanyi Since they do not know who they will be, they will therefore want to maximize the average level of well-being in society. Then the world will contain the five killings of them if they die, but not if they do not die.

Should we seek to equalize the goods in question over complete individual lifetimes, or should we seek to ensure that various life segments are as equally well off as possible?


He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right This is now the widely held conception of substantive, universal, moral equality.

He was given an extremely rigorous upbringing, and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings. Critics say that it permits various actions that everyone knows are morally wrong.

This debate will not be further discussed in this article. I will consider two of these. He held that no one deserves the social position into which he or she is born or the physical characteristics with which he or she is endowed from birth.

It remains controversial, however, whether any form of consequentialism can adequately incorporate common moral intuitions about friendship.This article is concerned with social and political equality.

In its prescriptive usage, ‘equality’ is a loaded and ‘highly contested’ concept. Explore the ethical theory of utilitarianism, founded by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Then test your understanding of how the principles of.

Philosophical approaches to the dilemma of death with dignity Elizabeth Telfer Dr Elizabeth Telfer is a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, where she lectures on contemporary moral issues, including euthanasia.

John Rawls (1921—2002)

Deontology is an ethical theory whose name is derived from the Greek word “deon”, meaning duty or obligation. Deontology holds that people act. 1. Classic Utilitarianism. The paradigm case of consequentialism is utilitarianism, whose classic proponents were Jeremy Bentham (), John Stuart Mill (), and Henry Sidgwick ().

I did not actually read this entire book but I read the introduction and the chapters on utilitarianism, liberalism, libertarianism, marxism, and communitarianism so my review will be about those sections.

Outline the important features of utilitarianism
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