Utilitarianism Notes

Utilitarianism Notes - Have you ever wondered how can you...

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Have you ever wondered how can you know what is morally right? We have often been told to do the right thing, but what is the right thing? To know what the right thing is we need to know what makes an action right or wrong; the act itself( called the categorical imperative ), the consequences of the act( called teleological ethical theories ), or the motive behind the act( called deontological ethical theories )? Moral truth comes into play when attempting to determine right from wrong. Some people are ethical skeptics . They doubt whether is any such thing as moral truth. For them, there is no way that we can know that stealing is wrong. It may be, but we cannot know that. To show that the ethical skeptic is mistaken, you would have to show how we can arrive at moral knowledge. Some people are ethical relativists . They deny that there are any universally valid moral principles. Even stealing can be right if some culture recognizes it to be right, even if others think it is wrong. However, if we subscribe to ethical relativism, it appears that we must give up any basis for condemning someone like Hitler. Morally deplorable actions such as ethnic cleansing become right if some culture thinks them to be right. Surely there must be some moral absolutes. Ethical absolutists (also called Universalists) claim that there are universal moral absolutes. Moral values they argue are objective. They transcend time and place. What is right is right, regardless of what anyone may think. Stealing is wrong, even if it might be justified in some circumstances by some higher good and even if some culture might think it is “cool.” Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), a British philosopher and social reformer, believed that a
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Utilitarianism Notes - Have you ever wondered how can you...

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