View Poll Results: Utilitarianism

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  • A good moral philosophy

    4 30.77%
  • A bad moral philosophy

    4 30.77%
  • Good and Bad, depending on the circumstance

    5 38.46%
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Thread: Utilitarianism

  1. #31
    Student Yossarian's Avatar
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    Re: Utilitarianism

    I personally see utilitarianism as a fairly poor moral philosophy. Firstly, it requires each and every human being to be a perfect moral calculator in a variety of different, and usually highly complex, circumstances, something which the average human cannot possibly hope to achieve. It struggles under the weight of what Robert Nozick (for example) termed the 'utility monster'; i.e. when one individual would gain/lose a far greater amount of utility from a given action than any other individuals, which thereby complicates a moral analysis yet further. Finally, it justifies what many would regard as appalling moral deeds; would any sane person consider that the murder of 99 individuals to save 100 necessarily increases 'overall utility' in any meaningful way?

    To me, Kantianism and moral skepticism are two diametrical, yet still more compelling, theories than utilitarianism and consequentialism generally.

  2. #32
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    Morality Games's Avatar
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    Re: Utilitarianism

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Ok, sorry, I was having trouble seeing where you were going with your posts.



    So in other words, some people are drama queens and want to be unhappy? If so, then that's fine. I don't think this philosophy works from a universal perspective anyway, but people tend to not work from a universal perspective since we are all finite creatures. Because of that, doing your best, can still be very utilitarian, even if its not a perfect action. However, in the end, if one believes that their actions will bring about more good then any other actions, then, while history's 20/20 view may prove them wrong in the end then they were probably acting reasonably. The crazy bomber who watches nothing but propaganda videos may feel he is doing good by blowing up some monument somewhere, but based on what he knew and to him, his actions were reasonable, this is probably the best we can expect out of anybody, even if it can let us down from time to time.



    Humans are not logically absolute creatures and there will always be the unknown. Because of this, a reasonable attempt at trying to do good can be very utilitarian, even if wouldn't work from a god's eyes perspective. Choosing actions on what we know vs what we don't know is a problem that I would imagine any philosophy suffers from.
    Yeah, but those are all qualifications, along with stipulations about the 'justice' of saving a large number of convicts against a smaller number of innocent people and other critiques; at a certain point utilitarianism starts losing some of its potency.
    If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself, but be certain the evil you commit is always your own and yours to acknowledge.

    St. Benedict

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