This is the most frustrating problem I encountered in understanding utilitarianism. If we've chosen the best possible alternative according to the expected value of 'happiness' it brought. Could our action still be considered immoral if the plan gets off track because of uncontrollable factors? (for example, the Butterfly Effect, or any intrinsic risks we've already considered while deciding)
Here is the formalized case I conducted:
Assume happiness can be quantified
There existed 2 choices:
A: has a success rate of P1, bring X amount of happiness. If failed, brings no happiness.
B: will always success, bring Y amount of happiness
where P1*X>Y>0 (i.e. expected value of A is greater than B)
- Which one should we choose, according to utilitarianism?
- If the answer is A:
If one chose A and the event failed to happen, is his/her choice immoral?
- If Yes:
The one chose the best possible choice according to utilitarianism rules, how can he/she be immoral?
Does this oppose consequentialism? As the behaviour is assessed not only on its consequence.