Utilitarianism - good”. This conflict creates a difficult...

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From a utilitarian point of view when an individual or group is faced with some sort of choice the moral way to act would be to choose which ever decision makes the most people “happy”. Williams presents a major problem to this argument by creating a situation where is a man kills one person the other 19 will be set free, but if this man doesn’t kill the one then all 20 of them will be killed. He further states that this man who has been asked to kill one is against the idea of killing in general which creates a conflict for him in this situation. From a utilitarian view the individual would have to calculate the total happiness under each situation and choose the best one, but in a case like this that decision could force the man to have to give up his own convictions for the “greater
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Unformatted text preview: good”. This conflict creates a difficult situation and it’s hard for someone to say the man is pursuing happiness in either decision he makes. A problem that I see with Williams’ argument is he merely proves that decisions in life can be difficult which we find no matter what moral theory we are exploring. I believe a Utilitarian would be able to devise a solid argument in support of their theory in situations like this even though it may mean a person must give up their own convictions to help others. Maybe the man holds another belief that saving the other 19 people even though it means giving up his principles would make him happier (it would at least make those other 19 happier)....
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This essay was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course PHI 240 taught by Professor Evans during the Spring '06 term at Wake Tech.

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