Utilitarianism and Justice

Utilitarianism and Justice - Utilitarianism and Justice...

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Utilitarianism and Justice Perhaps the most serious objection to Utilitarianism is that the calculus of utiles can end up sanctioning an action that is intuitively immoral, inasmuch as it constitutes an act of unfairness, injustice, or violation of an individual’s rights. It’s not hard to cook up examples wherein, according to Utilitarian principles, the well being or rights of an individual or group must be sacrificed for the sake of the general happiness, in ways that seriously clash with our intuitions about what is morally acceptable. We’ll look at some cases in class (framing an innocent man, letting loose and abetting the “utility monster”, etc.). The possibility, if not inevitability, of such cases derives directly from the fact that the morally right course of action, for a Utilitarian, is the action that produces a greater sum of utiles than what would be produced by available alternatives — where, crucially, no consideration is given to how the utiles are distributed among the various individuals affected. John Rawls, in his influential work, A Theory of Justice , presents the point in what I find to be a telling manner. He claims that Utilitarianism is not really concerned with the happiness or well being of concrete flesh-and-blood individuals, but rather with the happiness
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Utilitarianism and Justice - Utilitarianism and Justice...

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