utilitarianism, peer response help

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attached is the instructions for the peer responses. There are 3 students posts in which must be responded. As usual, please read their posts and respond accordingly in an attempt to further the discussion by analyzing their claims and arguments.

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Be sure to reply to your classmates and instructor. Try to attempt to take the conversation further by examining their claims or arguments in more depth or responding to the posts that they make to you. Keep the discussion on target and try to analyze things in as much detail as you can. Ensure to site at least one source from the reading requirements. Student 1: Utilitarianism differs the most from feminist ethical theory. Utilitarianism focuses on results that would benefit the most amount of people. But when we look at gender equality, utilitarianism is not the outcome society would want to have. If something mostly benefits men instead of women, then the balance isn't reached. Same with men, if something helps women more than men then equality isn't obtained. Feminist theory focuses on trying to understand gender inequality (Mosser, 2014). Men have had control over everything in this world for a very long time and continue to have the upper-hand with many aspects of day-to-day life. Feminist theory investigates on why this is and why it continues to be. The goal of feminism is for females to be equal to men. With a lot of social issues, women can argue that utilitarianism conquers with certain social policies. We could use the battle on birth control as an example. Some people want to make it OK for businesses to have the ability to opt out providing employees with birth control through their health insurance. This specifically targets women, not men. Then at the same time, some of these areas want to demonize abortion. So we have people who want to make birth control harder to get, but then if they experience an unwanted pregnancy, they can't easily reach out for an abortion. Notice how these issues are focused on women, not men. Mosser (2014) states "A genuinely universal; or gender-neutral moral theory would be one which would take account of the experience and concerns of women as fully as it would take account of the experience and concerns of men" (Chapter 6 Readings). Utilitarianism is the opposite goal of feminist theory. Gender-neutral mindsets would be more beneficial to both men and women when it comes to social policies. Student 2: The ethical theory that goes against ethical feminism is utilitarianism. Feminist morals are based on care and equality and although some would say, so is utilitarianism, there is a big difference. Feminism care a lot on a much more individual, singular level and the best impact for that single person. On the contrary, utilitarianism is more worried about the overall impact of the largest group of people. For example, say a husband's wife is dying. The husband might feel it is his "duty" to let her die because he thinks she has suffered or didn't want to be alive too long. it seems like the greater good would be to let her live and then her family would be happy, plus there are a lot of other people in the country that seem to want to have her live. The difference with utilitarianism is that the wife had a "contract" to live longer, meaning she wanted to resuscitated if she did die. Utilitarianism states that these contracts can be broken in necessary to benefit the greater good, however, a feminist would completely reject this ideology. Also, sacrificing others can be brutalizing and degrading according to ethical feminism. Student 3: When considering the theories, utilitarianism is one that comes to mind that differs from feminist ethical theories. “Utilitarianism states that the act that should be chosen is the one that creates the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people” (Mosser, 2013). Feminist theory goes into the why in gender inequality. Why have men always been considered the dominant gender? Why have females been viewed as only homemakers? Feminist theories want to get females to be equal to men in all aspects. When we think about the roles of men and women, the men have always been in a position of power. Whereas, females were more in a domestic role. Utilitarianism only considers those who benefit the most, despite the consequences. They do not consider how it effects people, they are just concerned with those who will benefit from the action. The best example of utilitarianism was given in our text stating “Suppose you and five of your friends are hanging out one night and decide to order a pizza. You are all equally hungry and decide to order two pizzas, each of which has six slices. Thus, when the pizzas are delivered, it is pretty easy to determine how to divide the pizzas in a way that is the fairest: Everyone gets two slices. It may be that one person wanted a third slice, and someone else may have only wanted one. Yet without knowing anything else, this arrangement, more than any other, will be the most beneficial to the greatest number of people” (Mosser, 2013). 61 Traditional of Ethics IntroducingTheories Philosophy Federico©Terry Caputo/iStock/Thinkstock Why/ Getty Images You have your way. I have my way. As for “It is the mark of an educated mind the right way, the correct way, and the only to be able to entertain a thought way, it does not exist. without accepting it” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra —Aristotle mos81165_06_c06.indd 175 1/6/14 2:33 PM CHAPTER 6 Section 6.1 How Should One Act? Learning Objectives After reading this chapter, students will be able to: 1. Characterize the classical theories of ethics—utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics. 2. Identify some of the problems these theories confront. 3. Describe other metaethical views, such as relativism and egoism. 4. Apply ethical theories to problems that affect both individuals and larger groups, including environmental challenges. What We Will Discover • Philosophers have developed theories to provide support for our claims about right and wrong. • Other theories such as egoism and relativism offer alternatives to traditional theories of ethics. • Ethics has many specific applications to our lives, from the very personal and specific to those that affect everyone in society. 6.1 How Should One Act? E thics, or moral philosophy, investigates how we can evaluate our behavior in terms of right and wrong, good and bad—in other words, how we determine what we should do, what we should not do, and how to tell the difference. After looking at the three classical ethical views that philosophers have presented and some of the problems with these theories, we will explore some alternative approaches. Utilitarianism Suppose you and five of your friends are hanging out one night and decide to order a pizza. You are all equally hungry and decide to order two pizzas, each of which has six slices. Thus, when the pizzas are delivered, it is pretty easy to determine how to divide the pizzas in a way that is the fairest: Everyone gets two slices. It may be that one person wanted a third slice, and someone else may have only wanted one. Yet without knowing anything else, this arrangement, more than any other, will be the most beneficial to the greatest number of people. Photos.com/© Getty Images/Thinkstock Jeremy Bentham is associated with the founding of utilitarianism, which states that given a choice between two acts, the one that creates greater happiness for the greatest number of people should be chosen. This simple example demonstrates the basic notion at the heart of the ethical doctrine known as utilitarianism. Often associated with the philosophers Jeremy Bentham (1748–1822) and John Stuart Mill, utilitarianism offers a very straightforward and direct way to evaluate behavior. When given a choice between two acts, utilitarianism states that mos81165_06_c06.indd 176 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 the act that should be chosen is the one that creates the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Philosophers (and economists) often use the term utility to express this quality. Utility is the satisfaction one gets from something. For instance, if you like chocolate ice cream more than vanilla ice cream, we can say that chocolate ice cream has a higher utility for you, relative to vanilla ice cream. In theory, at least, each of us can rank all of our choices according to a scale that indicates our relative preferences. Some philosophers, such as Bentham, even attempted to assign numbers to these preferences. If someone likes chocolate ice cream five times as much as vanilla ice cream, that person would presumably be willing to accept five vanilla ice cream cones as a substitute for one chocolate ice cream cone. It should also be noted that utility is regarded in terms of net utility: The correct moral choice is that which generates the greatest good and also minimizes unhappiness. Read more of John Stuart Mill’s ideas on this topic in his work Utilitarianism in the Chapter Readings section of the Appendix. Because utilitarianism considers an act’s consequences in assessing its morality, utilitarianism is also regarded as a consequentialist theory. The basic idea in consequentialism is to consider the consequences that will result from the choices one confronts: If the consequences of one act produce the greatest net good—or the highest utility—for the greatest number of people, this is the act one should carry out. Many people find this to be a rather obvious ethical viewpoint; clearly if we had decided to give all the pizza slices to just three people and no slices to the other three, this would seem rather unfair. It should also be clear that utilitarianism offers an approach to scenarios other than distributing pizza and ice cream. Imagine Mary really loves to dance, but she does not get to go dancing very often. Mary has three children, with whom she enjoys spending time and who enjoy spending time with her. One night she is given the option of staying home and spending time with her children or going dancing. What should she do? The utilitarian might argue that, on the one hand, the pleasure Mary gets from dancing is greater than staying with her children. Yet on the other hand, her children will receive great pleasure if she does not go dancing. Therefore, the “utility calculation” is that the net happiness of Mary and her three children will be higher if she stays home, even though Mary’s individual happiness might be slightly lower than it would have been if she had chosen to go dancing. Utility is often described in terms of pleasure, which can be problematic for utilitarianism. Imagine someone finds pleasure in playing video games and drinking beer all day long. Given a choice between, say, helping out in a homeless shelter or drinking and playing the newest video game, a person may well choose the latter, which suggests to some that utilitarianism has no way to distinguish between different kinds of pleasures. Presumably, we want our theory to be able to make a distinction between hedonistic and nobler pleasures. Mill saw this as a potential problem and insisted that pleasure should be considered not just in terms of quantity but also quality: that certain kinds of pleasures, or certain ways of satisfying desires, are simply better than others. A pig may be happy rolling around in the mud and eating garbage, but Mill insisted that people who take that approach to pleasure fail to develop their potential as human beings (relative to pigs, at least). According to Mill, it is better to be a dissatisfied Socrates than a satisfied pig. This is not to say that one should always choose something less pleasurable; rather, it is simply an indication that pleasures themselves can, or perhaps should, be distinguished from each other. It is not always easy to say that one pleasure is “superior” to another, and certainly people have long argued about this issue. However, these kinds of examples indicate a problem utilitarianism confronts if we evaluate acts solely in terms of their pleasurable consequences (Mill, 1909). mos81165_06_c06.indd 177 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 Many people find utilitarianism to be an easy and useful approach to making ethical decisions. When distributing goods, services, or even time, it would seem to be a “no-brainer” to choose the option that would satisfy or please as many people as possible, compared to any other available choice. However, philosophers have raised a number of problems in response to utilitarianism, which may make it a less plausible ethical theory than it first appears. Problems With Utilitarianism Utilitarianism has what philosophers call an intuitive appeal: It seems to be relatively obvious, and just plain common sense, to evaluate our actions based on the results those actions produce. If all we know about a situation is that four kids in a sandbox have one toy, the best option would be for the children to share that toy, even if each child is quite sure he or she would get the most pleasure from playing with it alone. However, many philosophers have objected to utilitarianism, and for a number of reasons. As we have seen, distinguishing different kinds of pleasures from each other can be difficult. Does utilitarianism have any way to address the situation of a person who gets pleasure from staring at the wall or doing something else that most people would find quite unpleasant (something often called masochism)? Mill (1863) suggests there are “higher” or “more refined” pleasures and that they should be preferred, but who is to say which is a “higher” pleasure? Is reading poetry somehow better than watching soap operas? What if someone gains pleasure by sleeping all the time or hitting his thumb over and over with a hammer? More significant objections to utilitarianism have been posed on the basis of calculating the outcome, or consequences, of a choice. Suppose you are on a cruise ship that catches fire; you and 19 others are lucky enough to survive on a lifeboat. There is enough water to last for a week or more, but you have no food and do not know whether you will be rescued. Everyone is aware of how grim the future looks; as the boat drifts, everyone gets hungrier. It becomes apparent that everyone is going to die unless your group finds food. The utilitarian in the group poses the following options: All 20 people die, or 19 people live if one person is killed and eaten! To justify his position, he cites historical examples of similar cases in which cannibalism helped the majority survive. However, while this scenario may appear to result in the greatest good for the greatest number, do we really want an ethical theory that not only allows cannibalism, but actually endorses it as the fairest and most ethical decision? Few of us are likely to experience a situation this extreme, but we may find ourselves in situations where the basic utilitarian calculation actually leads to results that are very unfair and unjust. This is particularly threatening anytime individuals find themselves in a minority, whether because of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any of the other ways in which society categorizes people. For example, suppose a local grade school must decide if it should use taxpayer money to build ramps to make the building accessible to students in wheelchairs. This tax will likely decrease the pleasure of each taxpayer and may only be used by a few individuals throughout the year. In this way it would result in a net utility that would favor a decision not to build the ramps. Would you consider this a fair outcome? mos81165_06_c06.indd 178 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 Great Ideas: The Trolley Problem A very famous challenge to our ethical intuitions, originated by Philippa Foot, is easy to describe but more problematic to solve. In Foot’s 1967 essay “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect,” she posed the following scenario known as the trolley problem: Imagine a runaway trolley hurtling toward five workers on the track. The driver must choose between staying the course, which would result in the death of the five workers, or divert the trolley to a spur where just one worker on the track would be killed. Most would say that diverting the trolley to save five lives while killing only one would be the better of the two options. Now imagine a similar scenario: What if a doctor could save the lives of five people who needed organ donations by killing one patient and distributing his organs? Would that be considered a moral act? If not, why would it be moral to kill the one track worker, but not the one patient? There are many variations on this basic scenario, which has generated a great deal of debate and discussion. Reflection Questions: With this in mind, consider the following questions: 1. Try to posit a situation where it would seem moral to kill (or allow to die) one person in order to save five people’s lives. 2. What is the relevant moral difference—if there is one—between killing someone and allowing someone to die? 3. Does it make a difference if one could save twenty people by sacrificing one person’s life? One hundred? One thousand? At what point might our views change due to the relationship between the one person sacrificed and the number of people saved? Tyranny of the Majority Dating as far back as Plato, political philosophers have often cited the tyranny of the majority, which is when the interests of the majority are placed above the interests of the minority, and to their detriment. American history is littered with such stories, whether the minority groups be African Americans, Native Americans, Jews, homosexuals, or many others. In the original, Protestant-dominated colonies, for example, Roman Catholics were not allowed to vote or hold public office. Despite the obvious injustice, this would seem to fit the utilitarian calculation, because Catholics were a minority at that time. This kind of calculation has been used to justify a wide range of policies that seem wrong, from slavery to refusing to sell houses in certain neighborhoods to ethnic and racial minorities. Interestingly, women have also suffered for similar reasons on the basis of this kind of calculation, despite the fact that they actually make up the majority of the population. Mill’s Response John Stuart Mill and other utilitarians recognized the flaws in an ethical system that had such unethical and oppressive results. One popular way of addressing these flaws has been to distinguish between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism simply involves a judgment of the act’s consequences: Given a set of choices, which act generates the greatest net good for the greatest number? Rule utilitarianism, on the other hand, involves an evaluation of the types of acts involved and proposes that, when followed as a general rule, the act should produce the greatest net good, or the greatest amount of happiness, for the greatest number. mos81165_06_c06.indd 179 1/6/14 2:33 PM Section 6.1 How Should One Act? CHAPTER 6 Consider the following example: Bob is taking an important physics test that he needs to pass to get into medical school. He considers the possibility that if he cheats “successfully,” he gains a great deal and thus achieves his greatest happiness, or “maximizes his utility” (we will ignore any feelings of guilt Bob may have). The act utilitarian would suggest that, in this case, cheating produces the greatest amount of good. The rule utilitarian would offer a different analysis. Bob may gain the most by cheating, but in general, we could not promote the rule that one should cheat. If we endorse a rule that says it is okay to cheat to get into medical school, then the rest of society would be considerably less confident that physicians were trustworthy and deserved their credentials. This would fail to ...
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Student 1

I totally agree with the writer that utilitarianism is opposite to the feminist theory. That
utilitarianism is not the outcome the society would like to have. Men have for a very long time
controlled almost everything which includes the affairs of the women. It is from this fact that
feminist theory came into play to salvage women. Utilitarianism with focus to speciesism have
shown the wide discrimination that women go through because of ...

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Tutor went the extra mile to help me with this essay. Citations were a bit shaky but I appreciated how well he handled APA styles and how ok he was to change them even though I didnt specify. Got a B+ which is believable and acceptable.

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