Utilitarianism essay

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Utilitarianism is a system of ethics, which determines the judgment of how wrong or right an action is, based on its consequences. Justice in relation to utilitarianism explores many of the problems with utilitarianism and how they relate to the normative consequences. Utilitarianism leads human beings to do what they think they ought not to do or not do what they should do. In connection with equilibrium punishment, individuals may be indebted to seek punishment of the innocent if doing so would create greater utility. If punishment is meted out, it may undermine the rule of law. The conductor of punishment weakens their own respect for the law and, thereby, effectively reduces the utilitarian benefits of punishment in the future. For example, if there were a murder in a society, there would be no weakening of respect for the law. It becomes difficult, though, to explain the intuition that it would be wrong to frame an innocent person connected with the act.
In regards to justice, it is argued that people might be forced to condone any system of slavery if the numbers of slaves were few; this means that any alternative system will produce less overall utility. Utilitarianism responds that, in an actual world, real instances of slavery will always produce less good and more suffering than would some viable alternatives. Utilitarianism implies that people ought to bring about an outcome that contains some amount of value, despite the details of distribution (Feldman 11).

Despite the deficient qualities in the utilitarian theory of justice, there may be a possibility of solving the problems to provide a practical and suitable theory for most situations. For a utilitarian, an individual has a right to A if and only if the individual has a valid claim on society to A’s protection; rights are only justified if they are essential to happiness. To discern that this does not work both ways, if a right is not essential to happiness, the society is not required to protect the right. Therefore, there exist only conditional rights of a human being in a utilitarian society. The society should treat all its members with dignity. Measures should be devised to assist the poor, both within a country and foreign ones, where poverty causes enormous suffering. Economic egalitarianism is justified on utilitarian grounds since the poor can benefit so greatly from additional resources. A theory of justice does not simply decide what moral duties individuals are required to follow, it must also include a form of punishment for those in society who do not fulfill their moral duties or impede on the rights of others (Stein 10-30).

Utilitarianism generally provides the best solution to many situations, and a framework in which to discuss ethical issues, but our common sense is also part of our nature, and any practical or applicable theory cannot go against it in any circumstances (Stein 11). Further, an evaluation of utilitarian theory vouches for the best action and the reasons behind it. We then evaluate the two positions, and if they agree, we have no problem and the decision is easy. If they do not agree, we evaluate the reasons behind each action and decide based on careful consideration of all options including the most likely consequence of each of the actions. In this way, the society can use utilitarianism and common sense to make the most informed decision in a given situation. In this regard, the justice system does not invent any retribution. Instead, it weighs the evil in every situation presented and chooses the lesser one or the harshest to suit the needs as at then.

Utilitarianism generally provides the best solution to many situations and a framework in which to discuss ethical issues, but our common sense is also part of our nature, and any practical or applicable theory cannot go against it in any circumstances (Stein 11). Further, an evaluation of utilitarian theory vouches for the best action and the reasons behind it. We then evaluate the two positions, and if they agree, we have no problem and the decision is easy. If they do not agree, we evaluate the reasons behind each action and decide based on careful consideration of all options including the most likely consequence of each of the actions. In this way, society can use utilitarianism and common sense to make the most informed decision in a given situation. In this regard, the justice system does not invent any retribution. Instead, it weighs the evil in every situation presented and chooses the lesser one or the harshest to suit the needs as at then.

Works Cited

Feldman, Fred. Utilitarianism, Hedonism, and Desert: Essays in Moral Philosophy. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.

Stein, Mark S. Distributive Justice & Disability Utilitarianism against Egalitarianism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Print.