UTILITARIANISM STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES (WEAKNESSES ((1) Concept of…
UTILITARIANISM STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
(1) Straightforward and based on a simple principle: to maximise happiness and avoid pain.
(2) An attractive ethical theory which is can be utilised within many different social groups.
(3) It offers a structure of morality which can realistically be followed in the real world, whilst also cultivating healthy social habits.
(4) Accepts natural human inclinations to assess the consequences of an action.
(5) It encourages people to widen their own world view and respect the rights of others. This promotes harmony within communities.
(6) Utilitarianism is a cycle which eventually feeds back and benefits the initial action taker.
(7) It is important to consider the emotions of others, and developing 'impartial observation' skills can be beneficial in day-to-day life.
(1) Concept of Happiness is subject and can therefore be manipulated by an individual to suit their needs.
(2) Offers no objective method for deciding right from wrong and is therefore not helpful as an ethical theory.
(3) Utilitarianism can be used to meet an individual's own sense of happiness.
(4) As individuals cannot agree on a set definition of happiness, this theory can lead to arguments and indecisiveness.
(5) Contingent upon people wanting to help others, even though we are naturally pre-programmed to meet our own needs first.
(6) In some instances, the right action is clear whilst in others the right action can be highly disputed. Utilitarian ethics fails to offer a conclusive method of decision making.
(7) Does not decide what is right, but rather, what is socially acceptable.
(8) Requires the individual to have a background knowledge of others in order to act in a way that will make them happy / meet their welfare needs. This is not always possible, especially if an event is spur of the moment.
(9) The theory is too broad and should be apply on a case - by - case basis, with a pragmatic outlook.
(10) Utilitarian would need to be constantly changing in order to meet what makes people happy, as preferences change with age and experience.
(1) The theory means one can never reach a definitive assessment of which actions can actually achieve maximal happiness. "The effects of an action form part of a chain that stretches into an indefinite future."
(1) A person's moral identity is rooted in his or her personal values and projects. Therefore, utilitarianism is subjective and thus, changes every time a decision is made.
(2) It is unrealistic to expect people to forego their moral integrity.
(1) Disregards the distinction between individuals, meaning that the rights of individuals are set aside for some greater good.
(2) Justifies a paternalistic approach to governance, whereby the state can 'enhance' your happiness by means you would not wish to accept / disagree with.
(1) If something is desirable, that does not mean it is therefore going to create happiness nor is it right. Following such logic, even bad desires could be justified. "desirable does indeed mean 'what it is good to desire', but when this is understood it is no longer plausible to say that our only test of that, is what is actually desired."
(2) Utilitarianism is based on a subjective morality, and therefore Mill is wrong to conclude moral oughts.