I am not in depth familiar with the theory of preference utilitarianism, so this might be a complete misunderstanding of the principle. But nonetheless there are a few things that I can not gasp under this framework.

My questions concerns the weighing of preferences in regard to avoiding suffering and pain, in particular it is concerned with Peter Singers standpoint on preference utilitarianism. For this, I want to use two hypothetical scenarios:

  1. Someone is in the position to save the life of 10 animals, but must therefore sacrifice the life of one human. How does someone in the utilitarianism framework decide? What is his reasoning?

What would concern me the most is that utilitarianism tries to weigh the life of different species and completely discards the act itself. As harming a living being (even if I save other beings) is considered immoral in many frameworks and has influences on things we can not consider.

  1. A similar scenario would be that someone concerned with animal life could justify harming humans who eat meat with this utilitarian standpoint. I am sure that I am misunderstanding the standpoint of Singer and other utilitarian theorists. (Furthermore I think that the second scenario is not defensible in the framework as nobody can predict if he saves animals with harmful acts and if this would be defensible by utilitarianism)

Thanks in advance!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.