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Defensive Approach: Utilitarianism Essay

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Updated: Mar 27th, 2020

Introduction

Utilitarianism is often criticized for its treatment of, or rather attitude towards individual rights. The utilitarian attitude towards rights is that the moral ‘right’ is built on the basis of utilitarian aspects, especially on the principle that seeks to reduce pain and suffering of living organisms. Therefore, according to utilitarianism, all living things have right to live independently because it is part of their moral wish and interest.

Human beings, therefore, have the responsibility not only to respect and protect the ecological system. According to utilitarianism, mankind should not be seen as the only rational creature capable of ‘self-intellection’. This paper attempts to provide a defense view of the utilitarianism with reference to the book, Essential Readings in Moral Theory, edited by George Sher and other academic writings.

Defensive view

According utilitarianism, all living things have a basic value. I believe that human being possesses the same basic worth based on the right to exist and live. Moreover, the human being does not possess more ethical right than other beings on the basis of rationality.

Humans have natural worth that has to be treated with respect. In fact, all living beings experience ‘subject of existence’. Man is an alert being, thus possesses inherent values; he or she has the moral right to be respected and dignified. Regardless of rationality or irrationality, human beings have the right of choice (Bentham 548).

Despite the fact that some people have proposed the principle of lesser evil to be the only criteria for ethical impacts (utilitarianism) to fit their self-righteous attitude, it is inherent that moral right is built on the basis of utilitarian aspects, especially on the principle that seeks to reduce pain and suffering of living organisms (Gandjour 141).

Actually, the human self-attitude has ruined ecological values in earth. In fact, it is socialism and racism attitudes that have divided the human community (Brandt 559). Human beings have an ethical responsibility to maximize pleasure and to reduce suffering; such feelings in my opinion should also be extended to animals.

This suggests that all creatures should be treated just like mankind. Mankind is obsessed with domination attitude which is inhumane. Therefore, human rights should not be abused because mankind has the interest to exist (Brandt 561).

I support the utilitarian view that all living things have right to live independently because it is their moral wish and interest. This also calls for preservation of land because land is a community that supports living organisms.

Human being, therefore, has responsibility not only to respect and protect living organisms but also to conserve land. The view accomplishes its objective of confirming that human has moral and intrinsic rights (Berns, Bell, Capra, Prietula, Moore, Anderson, Gingers, and Atran758). In fact, mankind has strong moral rights due to the fact that he is autonomous.

In a comprehensive reflection, I may adopt the reflective approach in explaining the scope of utilitarianism and its relevance. This approach is based wrongness and rightness on intrinsic characteristics, with the consequences being a negligible influence on the same. As indicated in utilitarian view, I concur that the notion of right, in what is commonly referred to as ‘ethics of common sense’, is actively functioning on self-realization and naturalism.

From looking into the good will, proper motive, first and second categorical imperatives, and immorality as a component of irrationality in defining what is right, it is in order to state that the aspect of good, happiness, good character, practical wisdom, pleasure, and contemplative faculty are part of mankind’s definition of the complete ‘right’ (Bentham 549).

In analyzing ‘right’, I opine that the only intrinsically and unqualifiedly good is ‘the good will’. This has nothing to do with happiness. Further, wit, intelligence, and judgment are generally of good value to human life, but might turn out to be timid when employed for bad rationale. For instance, the negative results of bad use of self-control and moderation may negate the overall ‘good’. Thus, I may make a conclusion that ‘right’ cannot be perverted since it is “intrinsically and unqualifiedly good” (Railton 570).

From this perspective, it is easy to notice that the aspect of ‘good’ is but just a disposition since it functions around action oriented teleological system. I have denoted my premise from the fact that all rational things often aim for ‘good’ through action oriented respect, mutual coexistence, and deeply entrenched social values (Railton 571). This is due to the fact that human beings possess more ‘ethical right’ than other beings on the basis of their rationality in addition to an inherent worth.

The topic of right presents simple beliefs which fascinate, especially on the functioning border of ‘human good’ and moral precepts of doing well. Among the listed examples under utilitarianism include experiencing pleasure, being honored, being healthy, and having beneficial friends. Reflectively, questioning these ‘good actions’ is the first step towards understanding the significance of these actions on personal initiative in doing morally right things.

Despite the existence of a series of intermediate rightness forms, I am convinced that there exists the ‘highest right’. As a matter of fact, the highest right is achievable upon utilizing life virtues which must be put into action (Railton 571). Therefore, excellence in this case is the average between duo extremes; absence and excess.

Despite the existence of several means of achieving the highest right via virtue inclination, those opposed to the utilitarianism presents a loose definition of virtue since there is not universal formula that can remain the same for every individual in utility application (Brandt 561).

Therefore, for mankind to accomplish the balance between good and bad, he or she has the sole responsibility of acting as an exact opposite of a carefree person. These action-oriented motives must be aligned to the right individual, extent, time, and reason. The difficulty of achieving virtue, due to the present conditions which must be met, may only be defeated through the principle that seeks to reduce pain and suffering of living organisms. Reflectively, this argument concentrates on the individual and causal factors to being right.

Those opposing the principles of utilitarianism lack comprehensiveness and work on the assumption that the actions of an individual would influence the degree of rightness, that is, ‘rightness’ cannot be quantified and highest goodness is not practical to achieve (Gandjour 147).

All living things have right to live independently because it is part of their moral wish and interest. This also calls for preservation of land because land supports living organisms. Human being, therefore, has a responsibility not only to respect and protect living organisms but also to conserve land.

Mankind should not be seen as the only rational creature capable of self-intellection (Berns et al. 756). As indicated in the above reflection, utilitarianism supports the right of non-humans in their interaction with humans. Utilitarianism supports non-humans as capable of self-intellection. For example, Chimpanzees, in their natural inclination, have communal, emotional, and intellectual apes’ features that are more related to human nature.

Actually, unique and comparable features between mankind and chimpanzee are related. The similarity is seen in tool-expertise, cultural knowledge, and inter-social life characterized by an organized system. Thus, the moral theory justifies the significance of non-humans on biodiversity balance.

Conclusion

Based on the principles of utilitarianism, I believe this argument is relevant in presenting the highest morals resting on ‘right’ which allows mankind to undertake actions in the backdrop of climax morality. For instance, when the underlying command plans originate from the opinionated inclination of such an individual, the results would basically be aligned towards self-contempt. The imperatives that motivate mankind to undertake actions are inspired by the desire to complete such right actions.

My defense identified obligations which may be mistaken for rightness and self-preservation. Rather, what matters in the intention of the action in inter and intra personal relationships. Human beings need to appreciate significant contributions of existing Flora and Fauna in the environment as required by the moral theory.

Utilitarianism supports the actions of mankind as above the needs of the non-humans. However, the diversity of ecosystems is safeguarded when human beings conserve the environment and avoid exploitative attitude towards other creatures.Thus, the utilitarianism is in order to state that humans and nonhumans should be respected and protected to ensure the balance in biodiversity.

Works Cited

Bentham, Jeremy. “Pleasure as the Good.” Ethics: Essential Readings in Moral Theory. Ed. George Sher. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 547-549. Print.

Berns, Gregory, Emily Bell, Monica Capra, Michael Prietula, Sara Moore, Brittany Anderson, Jeremy Gingers and Scott Atran. “The price of your soul: Neural evidence for the non-utilitarian representation of sacred values.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 367.1 (2012): 754-762. Royalsocietypublishing.

Brandt, Richard. “Goodness as the satisfaction of informed desire.” Ethics: Essential Readings in Moral Theory. Ed. George Sher. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 559-567. Print.

Gandjour, Afschin. “Is it rational to pursue utilitarianism?” Journal of the European Ethics Network. 14. 2 (2007): 139-158. Ethical-perspectives.

Railton, Peter. “Facts and Values.” Ethics: Essential Readings in Moral Theory. Ed. George Sher. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 570-574. Print.

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