A determination of whether the existence of moral dilemma pose a challenge to utilitarianism

Introduction This book elucidates an understanding of morality grounded in the nature of human nature. Its guiding thesis is that a bona fide ethics rests on bona fide understanding of what it is to be human, and in consequence, on bona fide explorations of human experience, of the phylogenetic and ontogenetic heritages of humans, of the human psyche, and of elemental facets of human existence. In carrying out these explorations, it articulates a morality that emanates from within rather than from without.

A determination of whether the existence of moral dilemma pose a challenge to utilitarianism

Autonomy would seem to be one such value. In utilitarian theory, however, autonomy appears to have its value only in its existence as a means to the greater end of well-being.

Many philosophers have written on utilitarianism, directly or indirectly addressing this issue. Bernard Williams and J. Mackie consider autonomy to be fatally wounded by utilitarianism.


Peter Singer and John Stuart Mill, however, consider autonomy to be merely infringed upon by the justifiable demands of the moral theory. The views of these four philosophers are presented in this paper in order to outline the particular nature of the problem that I claim finds its solution in the conciliatory writing of Scheffler.

It is clear that for Williams, utilitarianism makes far too large of an infringement on personal values. A system admitting of such a feature, Williams assures, simply cannot be the best one for any agent. Holding an entirely different opinion of the alleged autonomy-shunning nature of utilitarianism is Peter Singer.

Moral dilemmas and utilitarianism

Singer illustrates his claim with the hypothetical situation of his noticing a child drowning in a pond, on the way to his lecture. If complete agreement to this occurs, then no one should disagree that we morally ought to take steps to prevent other harmful conditions, if we are similarly able to do so without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance.

Singer notes that the case of the drowning child is rare, but the case of poverty, to name one example, is not; it is an ongoing problem in the world everyday. If we recognize poverty as a bad thing, and are able to contribute to the minimization of it without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance, Singer contends that we should.

A determination of whether the existence of moral dilemma pose a challenge to utilitarianism

He displays this argument for the obligation to assist in premise form: If we can prevent something bad without sacrificing anything of comparable significance, we ought to do it.

Absolute poverty is bad. There is some absolute poverty we can prevent without sacrificing anything of comparable moral significance.

Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

We ought to prevent some absolute poverty. Singer does not stop there, conveying a commentary on the act of helping: We have an obligation to help those in absolute poverty which is no less strong than our obligation to rescue a drowning child from a pond.

Immigration (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Much of this attention is due to the fact that they are always connected to some polemic and interesting discussion involving Ethics.
Academic Tools Moral dilemmas and utilitarianism Date: In an examination, you would get a good mark for this, possibly a very good mark.
Talvez você também goste... Taken together, these results suggest that there is very little relation between sacrificial judgments in the hypothetical dilemmas that dominate current research, and a genuine utilitarian approach to ethics.

Not to help would be wrong? Helping is not, as conventionally thought, a charitable act which it is praiseworthy to do, but not wrong to omit; it is something that everyone ought to do. What Williams perceives as an erasing of autonomy is, for Singer, a real obligation to do good or prevent bad for others.

This requirement, Singer holds, is not at all unreasonable, as it serves as a conclusion to simple, uncontroversial premises that neither consequentialists nor non-consequentialists would have difficulty endorsing.

It is a misapprehension of the utilitarian mode of thought, to conceive it as implying that people should fix their minds upon so wide a generality as the world, or society at large.

The great majority of good actions are intended, not for the benefit of the world, but for that of individuals, of which the good of the world is made up. Although Mill has included an obligation to not violate the rights of other agents, autonomy seems to thrive in his utilitarianism.

The requirement of concern for the other is not a strenuous one, as its nature of yielding to those concerns of the individual makes it appear incapable of performing the kind of suffocation that Williams anticipates.

Williams, Mill would state, wrongly interprets the motive of utilitarian action as the rule of it. Mackie expresses serious doubt about its ability to function with universalizability in a social setting, the setting in which the vast majority of individuals, especially those concerned about morality, are situated.

All real societies, and all those which it is of direct practical use to consider, are ones whose members have to a great extent divergent and conflicting purposes, and consequently will not only not be motivated by a desire for the general happiness but also will commonly fail the proposed test of being such as to maximize the general happiness.

With this impetus looming constantly over every human agent, the expectation of human motivation tending toward the general happiness is one that could only be thought to be reasonable in a state of fantasy. Acknowledging that beneficence does exist, Mackie makes clear that it has nothing to do with a universal concern, but instead with others whom the agent has a particularly special connection with, such as friends or family.

The views that Mackie argues against that he has ascribed to Mill are, in fact, opposite to those actually held by Mill. Consider the separate cases of two expedition leaders on journeys with groups of explorers.

Both leaders find themselves, along with their groups, five feet from what they recognize to be the most lethal snake in the world. Knowing that the snake is startled and eager to attack, the leaders halt and order their groups to do the same, all the while knowing that it is too late, as whoever is closest to the snake five seconds from now will unavoidably perish.

He orders the group to back away as he steps toward the snake.

The Roots of Morality

These polar positions on the acceptability of utilitarianism on the basis of its treatment of autonomy appear to warrant some sort of compromise, making both pairs of writers able to agree to a notion of acceptability with reference to a utilitarian moral structure.Utilitarianism and ethical dilemma.

1 Utilitarianism is a tradition budding from the 18th and 19th century by English philosophers and economists JEREMY BENTHAM and JOHN STUART MILL.

- The tension between eudaimonist or otherwise natural ethics and the ethics of divine command goes back to Plato’s Euthyphro, where we ask whether right is right because the God says so, or if God says so because it is right (philosophers sometimes call this the Euthyphro dilemma).

Utilitarianism, Kant's ethical system represents a universal categorical imperative rule of ethics. The Categorical imperative is an expression of the moral law.

The ethical framework of utilitarianism explains that the determination of whether or not consequences and actions should be considered as ethical is based on their ability to bring the maximum amount of good to the greatest number of individuals (Arnold, Beauchamp, & Bowie.

Virtue ethics: an approach to moral dilemmas in nursing E Arries, monstermanfilm.com, Ph.D.; monstermanfilm.com (Ethics) virtue ethics as an approach to moral dilemmas in nursing.

Nurses, by virtue of their practice is, the members of the determines whether the response by the nurse to a situation of moral distress is ethical or not. At times, the dynamic. Thus, even if some women identify with care ethics, it is unclear whether this is a general quality of women, whether moral development is distinctly and dualistically gendered, and whether the voice of care is the only alternative moral voice.

Care Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy