Utilitarianism

(redirected from Utilitarian ethics)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to Utilitarian ethics: Kantian ethics, Deontological ethics

Utilitarianism

The philosophy holding that moral actions must provide the greatest good to the greatest number of persons. Utilitarianism emphasizes the consequences of actions when evaluating their morality. For example, a utilitarian may regard a lie to a regulator as moral if it saves 2,000 jobs. Critics of utilitarianism contend that consequences are unknowable and argue that it could be used to defend atrocities. Utilitarians, on the other hand, argue that their philosophy is the best way to improve happiness in the aggregate.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
However, they are still not sufficient to break with the endogenous alliance established at the beginnings of capitalism outlined above and the paradigm of technological innovation, overseen by individualistic utilitarian ethics, as the engine that drives not only the "wealth of the nations" and individuals, but also inequality.
Recall and understand several approaches to professional ethics, including utilitarian ethics, virtue-based ethical theory, and moral motivation theory.
A follow-up study conducted a decade later (Premeaux, 2004) found that while managers generally continued to apply utilitarian ethics, there was a shift toward duty, perhaps because of the possible punishment that could result if they took an unethical path.
Both schools of thought apply a version of utilitarian ethics and both views are deficient, for at least two reasons.
The fact that the individuals who do so might act from the perspective of greed rather than altruism is irrelevant from the perspective of utilitarian ethics because the result is still a positive-sum game regardless of motive (Kant would disagree.
Utilitarian ethics focuses its teaching on the potential victim of legal plunder, instructing him in his own best interests and those of society in general, thereby discouraging him from favoring legislation that permits his neighbor to rob him with impunity.
Utilitarian ethics hold that "the rightness of an action entirely depends on the value of its consequences, and that the usefulness can be rationally estimated" (About, 2006).
While this could be rationalized as utilitarian ethics, democracy demands an informed electorate that is able to knowledgeably advise its elected representatives on all major issues.
Second, compared with Kantian and utilitarian ethics, both Jen and care ethics are not as dependent on general rules.
Singer's article is a provocative exposition of utilitarian ethics, written for an educated newspaper audience--he argues that we should all give away all of our income above $30,000 a year, a proposition that is sure to excite students.
18) These criteria for defining death are currently being morally defended by a strictly pragmatic and utilitarian ethics, in which the dignity of a human life depends only on the value of its use.
Controversial philosopher Peter Singer argues for animal rights, utilitarian ethics, and A Darwinian Left.