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Questions tagged [utilitarianism]

The ethical theory that answers all questions of what to do, what to admire, or how to live, in terms of maximizing *utility* or happiness.

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Is Tipping Morally Justifiable?

Those subscribing more to an individualistic rather than cosmopolitan conception of capitalism often make utilitarian claims for justifying the moral practice of tipping. In light of utilitarian ...
Paradox Lost's user avatar
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Ethics based on maximizing "understanding"

Can we declare that the ultimate moral good is to maximize understanding of deep truths, and all else follows from that? The main thing that could morally distinguish humans from other animals is that ...
causative's user avatar
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Why are most utilitarians not eugenicists?

I'm not a utilitarian, nor am I a eugenicist, but it seems to me that a utilitarian should support the accelerated adaptation of the human genome to try to mitigate things like genetic disorders or ...
edelex's user avatar
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Utilitarianism and the interests of all others

I believe that the pains and pleasures of others are just as important as my own, whether I like them or not. But I know someone who argues otherwise, and thinks that it’s a matter of complete ...
h_undatus's user avatar
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In a Platonic utilitarianism, would the only commandment be, "Contemplate the Form of Happiness"?

Suppose that the Form of Happiness were the most happiness-bringing entity possible, i.e. that Platonic contemplation of this Form would cause the greatest happiness possible for any entity (including ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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Is Bentham's "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" ill-defined?

Bentham's Utilitarianism is defined as pursuing "the greatest happiness of the greatest number", but it contains two optimization goals, "greatest happiness" and "greatest ...
Steve Z's user avatar
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What are valid rebuttals to utilitarianism?

From Britannica, utilitarianism is an ethics concept in which an action (or type of action) is right if it tends to promote happiness or pleasure and wrong if it tends to produce unhappiness or pain—...
megamonster68's user avatar
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4 answers
150 views

Is Ethics essentially the same as Utilitarianism?

I have no training in philosophy so bare with me here. I often feel like the way people, including philosophers, talk about it is irrational. I am here to ask if you agree with me on the following. If ...
typorum's user avatar
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What is the moral difference between saving a life and creating a life?

In modern society, a lot of people think that giving birth is either wrong if it leads to some suffering or at the very least non-morally optional. However, saving a life is considered good. Why is ...
HelpMePlease's user avatar
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On the nature of goods?

If I have an apple and you have an apple and we both exchange we both still have one apple. But if I have an idea and you have an idea and we both exchange we have 2 ideas. Obviously the exchange of ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
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1 answer
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How does hedonistic utilitarianism rule the problem that people seek for domination?

Hedonistic utilitarianism can be synthesized by Jeremy Bentham's statement: "the greatest good [= pleasure] for the greatest number." However, if it might be true that the drive to seek ...
Starckman's user avatar
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Does utilitarianism imply materialism?

Does utilitarianism imply materialism? Utilitarianism has for one component epicurianism, which is a materialist philosophy, and also consequentialism which cares about real life consequences of ...
Starckman's user avatar
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Harm Principle and the Trolley Case

My question concerns what someone following the Harm Principle does when confronted with a trolley-like situation: where causing a couple people to die would save many more lives. This specifically ...
Hokon's user avatar
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Are there any well-grounded moral systems that can't be manipulated to justify whatever decision its acceptant wishes?

In §26 of A Theory of Justice (1999 ed.), Rawls writes: A problem of choice is well-defined only if the alternatives are suitably restricted by natural laws and other constraints, and those deciding ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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4 answers
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Essay critiques on monetary utilitarianism

I am trying to figure out what are the critiques of a Utilitarianism oriented around money. The critiques of Utilitarianism in general is pretty easy to find online, but not for specifically about ...
Babu's user avatar
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From the point of view of utilitarianism, should we consider everyone as immoral? Since no one meets the moral standards of utilitarianism

I say that no one meets the moral standards of utilitarianism because a faithful adherence to the utilitarian criteria would require you to give your resources until you lower your standard of living ...
Kirby's user avatar
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How can it be justified from utilitarianism that we must keep our promises?

How can it be justified from utilitarianism that we must keep our promises? I want to know if it can be justified from utilitarianism.
Kirby's user avatar
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Under what conceptions of God does it follow that we necessarily are in "the best of all possible worlds"?

My personal take on this question is that it would follow that we are living in "the best of all possible worlds" if God were a utilitarian, that is, if we viewed God as an agent making ...
Mark's user avatar
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Harm Principle and Duty to Rescue - Which "baseline" should an action be compared against when assessing harm?

Preface ("What isn't my question") As prominently articulated by Mill, liberalism (and the harm principle) asserts that it is always bad for aggregate utility to coercively interfere in ...
yue-dongchen's user avatar
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Are there any "right-now" versions of utilitarianism?

From what I can tell, the conclusive problems that normal utilitarianism faces are (A) the knowability problem, which is whether we could really know the total future impact of our actions, or (B) &...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
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Can the Christian God be a Utilitarian?

I've been entertaining the idea that the Christian God might be utilitarian, after noticing many correlations between things that the Christian God commands or desires and things that promote ...
Mark's user avatar
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Question regarding extrapolating Peter Singer's 1972 paper--"Famine, Affluence and Morality."

"Famine, Affluence and Morality" by Peter Singer's conclusion-- Donating to charity is morally obligatory and not supererogatory. When further asked how much to donate-- as much as we ...
Saurabh's user avatar
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2 answers
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Are choices that lead to harm if required by duty or executed with consent still ethical?

If people carried out actions which could potentially harm others, and others consented to the person carrying out the action, is carrying out such an action still ethical? If I were to judge this ...
user1039203's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
76 views

Is it immoral to provide harmful things even if it is known that such things are harmful?

Is the act of providing potentially harmful things to others unethical from the utilitarianism perspective? Would it be immoral to serve things that definitely will harm people (cigarettes, toxic food ...
user1039203's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
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Would objectivist utilitarianism be considered to be a form of moral absolutism?

Wikipedia defines moral absolutism as the view that "there is at least one principle that ought never to be violated". Does this mean that even someone who holds morally objectivist ...
Probably's user avatar
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Why is no used the Utilitarian "And what?" answer?

Utilitarismus is very hated for going against things like the right to live, steal and so on. Utilitarians typically have tried to reconcile the doctrine with this common-sense aspect of ethics. But ...
Zermelo Frege's user avatar
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0 answers
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Does Mill intend to identify attainment of desires and happiness?

Mill explcitly states that "in reality there is nothing desired except happiness", which I paraphrase as "if person X desires event Y, then X believes the attainment of event Y would ...
Him's user avatar
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Voting and evidential expected utility

Say there is a large election between two candidates 𝐴 and 𝐵. A winning would have a utility value of 100, B winning would have utility value 0. Going out and voting would add a (sub)value of -1 ...
jayil's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
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What is the scope of Utilitarianism?

Utilitarianism can be used to explain all kinds of environmental protection measures quite well. For example, it can be used to justify why individual factories must clean their wastewater and not ...
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0 answers
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Has utilitarianism actually been applied to decision-making in history?

Are there cultures/societies in which utilitarianism is the norm? Have there ever been major political decisions made on a strictly utilitarian basis, and how did those decisions turn out? I am ...
ModestPelican's user avatar
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Why does the classical trolley problem have a 1 to 5 ratio

I'm just starting to wet my feet with Philosophy but of course, I've known about the trolley problem for a long time. However it just occurred to me that the classical version of this problem always ...
Bolza's user avatar
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What are the limitations of Peter Singer's utilitarianism? [closed]

What are the limitations of Singer's argument in "Famine, Affluence and Morality" and the conclusion he presents ? As well as the limitations of his statement that letting the child drown ...
mara kozelets's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it ethical to legalize psychedelic drug therapy for the terminally ill?

The ethics of relieving end of life anxiety with psychedelic drugs is in question. I would like a risk/ benefit analysis according to all the facts. If the benefits outweigh the risk of harm, then I ...
Stevie C. 's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
295 views

Moral dilemma: wellbeing vs autonomy

Imagine you are pregnant, or the husband of a mother-to-be. You live in a world which is brutal; relentlessly cruel. Prior to birth, an offer is submitted to you: "Bring your child into the ...
Futilitarian's user avatar
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1 answer
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What do philosophers call the aspirational ideal of deliberative decision-making / governance?

I'm interested in the oldest and/or most notable articulation of what a potential ideal decision-making / governance approach would aspire to. More concretely, consider an idealized decision-making ...
avv's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is Utilitarianism a theory of normative ethics or meta-ethics?

I would have thought Utilitarianism should be viewed as a theory of meta-ethics. This is because, in my view, Utilitarianism addresses the issue of "what is good?" by providing a method (i.e....
C.M.O.B.'s user avatar
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1 answer
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Famous Philosophical Riddles/Problems throughout History

I am looking to learn more about famous philosophical riddles/problems throughout history. For example - problems similar to: Epicurean Problem of Evil Buridan's Donkey Pascal's Wager Trolley Problem ...
stats_noob's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
909 views

Are emotional aspects considered in the utilitarian standard of morality?

Are emotional aspects considered in the utilitarian model of morality? We know the utilitarian model of morality proposes a standard based on the calculated value of how much an action contributes to ...
Sazzad Hissain Khan's user avatar
22 votes
8 answers
8k views

Is it ethical to convince someone to get vaccinated?

I'm currently writing about the ethics of vaccinations, and I have two long-standing concerns about the matter. "Is refusing vaccination a morally justifiable position?" will be my question. ...
Ericleast992's user avatar
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1 answer
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According to Utilitarianism, how do we define greater good?

Utilitarianism sets out to have "the greater good for a greater number of people," but what if someone's definition of good is committing something like mass genocide (something on the lines ...
Schwarz Kugelblitz's user avatar
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0 answers
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The usefulness of the useless (pure math and pure science)

In Italian philosopher Nuccio Ordine's The utility of the useless, he returns to a traditional and inexhaustible theme: the value of education and its relationship with culture. Ordine identifies that ...
Lambert macuse's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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Is Determinism a valid objection to Utilitarianism (or ethics in general)?

I understand Utilitarianism to be the ethical theory which states that "we should choose to do those things that cause the most happiness". As soon as I see the word "choose" in ...
Anuj Manoj Shah's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
292 views

Is there a reason that utilitarianism is the "default" moral system of thinking for many humans, and if so, why?

Over the past few centuries a shift has been seen, from the likes of strict adherence to Christianity (at least, in Europe) to greater reliance on science, etc. as observed by Friedrich Nietzsche. ...
Bithov Vinu 's user avatar
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2 answers
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According to utilitarianism, are the only moral actions the ones that maximize utility? What about actions that increase utility, but not maximally?

Whenever I look at a definition of utilitarianism, what I see is that it only seems to prescribe actions that maximize utility. Suppose that, for a given junction, you have a set of possible actions ...
Bridgeburners's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
120 views

Why can't consequentialist morality be "fixed" to accommodate family/friend considerations by enlarging the definition of happiness?

This is cited as one of the first objection to consequentialism here (https://www.britannica.com/topic/ethics-philosophy/Objections-to-consequentialism): "It is also claimed that, because ...
J Li's user avatar
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4 answers
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Multidimensional utility

I'm an outsider to the philosophy community (I'm a mathematics PhD student), and I'm curious of whether the following critique has been addressed. During some superficial discussions I had on ...
Uzu Lim's user avatar
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Is this moral philosophy consequentialist or deontological?

I'm working on an article in which I attempt to defend a "unified" theory of morality that takes insights from all the most popular moral theories in Western philosophy. The main principle ...
Ariel's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Which distribution is allowed by Rawls's difference principle?

Let's say we have the following different distributions of monetary wealth possible for a society. Here, LAG := Least Advantaged Group, OG := Ordinary group, MAG := Most Advantaged Group. Type LAG OG ...
Abdul Muhaymin -Free Palestine's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
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Is the tyrannicide perpetrated by William Tell morally legitimate?

I have recently been reading Friedrich Schiller's fantastic Drama William Tell, in which he not only relates the folkloric-mythological origin of Switzerland upon its liberation from the yoke of the ...
Dr. Mathva's user avatar
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1 answer
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Under utilitarianism, does drug dealing become moral if you're good enough at it?

A simple utilitarian argument against drug dealing is that while the user may experience a great deal of pleasure, their family and friends are hurt more. But does this argument hold once a critical ...
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