Criticisms of Utilitarianism

Criticisms of Utilitarianism - Criticisms of Utilitarianism...

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1 Criticisms of Utilitarianism I. Absolute Duties Irrelevant Moral duties such as truth-telling are no longer absolute, necessary duties. While Kant argues that we should never tell a lie no matter what the consequences, utilitarians would first calculate the positive and negative effects from either telling the truth or telling a lie. If telling a lie will maximize more happiness or pleasure for the number of people involved, then telling a lie is the morally right thing to do. Thus, certain moral duties are not absolute, but relative to the positive outcome of a given moral action. II. Theory Demands Too Much Utilitarianism states that we are morally required to act in such a way to bring about the best consequences. As a result, you’re morally responsible for: a. The things that you didn’t do but could have done to maximize happiness. b. The things that you could have prevented others from doing that decrease overall happiness. c. What you actually do to maximize/increase happiness. Thus, it appears that utilitarianism is an excessively demanding moral theory.
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 61 at San Jose State University .

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Criticisms of Utilitarianism - Criticisms of Utilitarianism...

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