Act%20Utilitarianism%20-%20A%20Closer%20Look%20%28Wilhelm%2c%20Dr.%20Utility%2c%20and%20Trolleys%29-

Act%20Utilitarianism%20-%20A%20Closer%20Look%20%28Wilhelm%2c%20Dr.%20Utility%2c%20and%20Trolleys%29-

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Medical Ethics Darin Harootunian 10/5/11 2 Rule Utilitarianism (RU): An act is morally right if and only if the act is required by a rule, which belongs to a set of rules, which when accepted and observed by a society maximizes the net amount of happiness across all the affected parties. Suppose we have a rule against strangling babies Babies shouldn’t be strangled (or as an imperative, Don’t strangle babies! ). It would seem that a set of rules that contained this rule, which when adopted and observed by the society, would maximize the net amount of happiness across all the parties affected. The babies would be happier if they’re n ot being strangled. The parents would be happier if their babies are not being strangled. Everyone would be happier except maybe Wilhelm. It would seem that including this rule in the set of rules accepted and observed by a society would maximize the net amount of happiness across all the affected parties. The rule requires that we refrain from strangling babies; the act of refraining from strangling babies is morally right. Wilhelm’s act of strangling Baby Hitler is morally wrong. (Obviously, the rule that I formulated here was illustration and amusement. The relevant moral rule or principle in a case like this is simply a general proscription on killing the
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This note was uploaded on 11/07/2011 for the course PHIL 164 taught by Professor Doviak during the Fall '07 term at UMass (Amherst).

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