Utilitarian Ethics

In: English and Literature

Submitted By termpaper4444
Words 717
Pages 3
Leaders make rational decisions every day in the effect to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs for themselves and everyone affected by it. These leaders just as often make decisions based on emotions, opportunities, present states of condition, and other factors, which are considered irrational decisions. People have the natural desire to be correct without weighing the consequences. One recent example of a company that has been criticized for potentially making a very irrational decision is Facebook. CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that he is buying WhatsApp for 16 Billion in cash and stock, along with another 3 over a couple years, making it a 19 Billion dollar deal for the company. WhatsApp is a leading chat app that has grown quickly in the last few years. It allows people to send video, photos, and text messages. It is more popular in many countries outside of the United States. The app will also not promote any ads for users. The deal’s enormous price tag brings a lot of question into Zuckerberg’s rationale behind his decision and if the pros outweigh the cons. Consequentialism is focused on the basic consequences that come with decisions and determining net balance between the good consequences and the bad ones. Zuckerberg’s decision to buy WhatsApp is consistent with his goal of connecting the entire world, especially developing countries, through technology. The app has over 450 million users. There almost as many messages sent using the app as there are text messages sent in the entire world per year. It allows Facebook to improve the app and help people from all over the world to share information quickly and efficiently. Utilitarian ethics revolves around maximizing net benefits for all parties involved with the decision, which brings the question, is the 19 billion dollar cost for the acquisition able to maximize the net benefits in…...

Similar Documents

Utilitarian Ethics of Bank of America in 2008 Crisis

...Ethics is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the moral, philosophical characteristics from formal, systematic and ethical principles. Moral judgments are calculated from ethical principles which need to be applied as a standard for everyday choices in life and business. This is directly related to the decisions human beings make. Cavico (2009) states utilitarianism is more than just moral philosophy. It is a way of reformation and used extensively in government decision making. This will be discussed further in the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger. Utilitarianism is considered a scientific system of ethics and not just a philosophical theory of ethics. Utilitarian ethics follows the belief of maximizing the greatest good for the largest number of people. As utilitarianism is identified, one needs to learn that the greatest good could be based on aggregate principle or a distributive principle. The Bank of America-Merrill Lynch merger will be assessed in regards to who, what and how the greater good will be affected in this merger. Within utilitarianism, a moral philosophy is developed that focuses on the consequences of specific actions. An action is done, then observed and then analyzed. After identifying all the people that were involved, one needs to ask the question, “Do the sum of good consequences outweigh the sum of the bad consequences?” Quantify all the good and bad consequences in the scenario and if the good consequences are greater than the bad......

Words: 1992 - Pages: 8

Stem Cell Research & the Utilitarian Principle

...Stem Cell Research and the Utilitarian Principle Human Embryonic Stem Cell (HESC) Research offers hope in alleviating suffering from debilitating diseases and possibly death. HESC are characterized by their ability to self-renew and different into different types of cells (pluri-potency). The main goal of HESC Research is to identify which mechanism governs cell differentiation, and then turn the HESC into the specific cells types which may be used to treat various illnesses. The restorative benefits of HESC are strong factors in favor of the research. Despite the promise of HESC Research, many still oppose it because harvesting of HESC ultimately leads to the destruction of the human embryo. For many this constitutes a destruction of a potential human which is in conflict with religious and moral views in our society (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2008). The crux of the matter is thus; if viewed only in terms of consequences, one could argue that it is almost certain the potential health benefits of HESC outweigh the loss of embryos. However those in opposition of the research argue that it is morally impermissible to intentionally kill innocent human beings. The premise of their argument against destruction of the embryos is that embryos are human beings; but there is much debate about when human life actually begins. Utilitarianism and science are uniquely suited to each other in that the ‘greatest happiness’ principle of utilitarianism is......

Words: 923 - Pages: 4

Utilitarian Ethics

...Abstract Ethics are a set of acceptable principles that guide the way individuals should act in a given situation. Utilitarian Ethics is morally right acts that bring the most happiness to individuals. For instance, utilitarian ethics main focus is happiness and what decision will produce the maximum amount of happiness for everyone involved. Jeremy Bentham believed that individuals were governed by two masters, which are pleasure and pain. The utility test helps individuals select the best outcome that will result in the most happiness and minimize pain or discomfort.   Utilitarian Ethics Utilitarian Ethics is the theory that "an action is morally right if and only if it produces at least as much good (utility) for all people affected by the action as any alternative action the person could do instead" (Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd ed). Utilitarian Ethics is morally right acts that bring the most happiness to individuals. Jeremy Bentham believed that individuals were governed by two masters, which are pleasure and pain. The Case of the Sole Remaining Supplier is facing a utilitarian ethical problem. This paper will address the key utilitarian ethical problem(s) confronting the supplier/transistor company in this Case. In addition, the paper will also identify what advice Jeremy Bentham would give to the company, and apply the application of Steps A through D of the Utility Test to the company. Furthermore, this paper will compare and contrast the......

Words: 2058 - Pages: 9

Utilitarian vs Hedonism

... Ethics PH 210 Unit 2 Farzin Sedghi Lesson 2 1. The Utilitarianism explains that whatever we do matters if it consequently makes us happy or even unhappy. Therefore, nothing else has a part in terms of not making the individuals happy or unhappy. I say unhappy because things that we do or things that happens to us can unintentionally makes us unhappy at the end, however, if we consider the idea of causality, a chain of cause and effect can bring us a chain of happiness and unhappiness. Things that makes us as a society unhappy, we tend to avoid, and things that makes us happy we tend to do more. But what happens if, for instance, something that was supposed to make us happy in the future has been replaced with the sense of sadness and despair. For example, if one’s dream was to fly an airplane and become a pilot was crushed after an unfortunate accident in which the individual loses his eye vision. Then we can see that in this series of cause and effect there was a cause that worked as an obstacle in front of him not to achieve his ultimate happiness which was being a pilot and therefore, not becoming an important part of a society which can, for instance, keep us safe in the sky and so make us happy. However, is it true that what was left for him was merely a sense of unhappiness? What can the individual do to prevent such accident in the future? Does that even matter since the individual already lost his eyes? Therefore, we come to an understanding that what makes......

Words: 1795 - Pages: 8

Pro-Abortion, Deontologically and Utilitarian

...many political discussions in the United States and around the world. There are people spread across both sides of the argument whose opinions vary in intensity and depend on different sources of information to back up their points of view. For the purpose of this paper, abortion will be defined as the deliberate termination of human pregnancy. It is my opinion that abortion, completed early enough in a pregnancy, is not an unethical act and should not be considered to be a decision that is immoral. My argument is based on ideas that are rooted in both utilitarian and deontological ethics as I will show throughout the essay. One of the few religions to condone acts of abortion is Hinduism. This is not to say, however, that Hinduism is blindly accepting of all kinds of abortion. In Hinduism, the belief is that one should make a decision based on what kind of effect it will have on all those involved. This is a very utilitarian way of looking at abortion because it looks at the decision and determines which choice will cause the least amount of harm to the mother, father, fetus, and society (BBC, 2013). Traditionally in Hindu culture, when considering circumstances where abortion is a possible solution to a problem, it is usually found that the procedure is not the appropriate response to the situation and aborting the baby would have negative social and spiritual consequences. I believe this is important because although Hinduism isn’t “pro-choice”, like many democratic......

Words: 1124 - Pages: 5

Abortion Kant vs. Utilitarians

...person yet? Many of us will never know the answer to that question. Two views I will go deeper into is the view of Immanuel Kant and the view of a Utilitarian. Immanuel Kant is a firm believer that every person has rights and that no one has the right to infringe on them. To Kant all actions should be done with doing the right thing in mind. The only problem with that is what is right to him is not necessarily correct to somebody else. Kant would believe that under no circumstance would an abortion be justifiable because it would be murder to him, tying back to the idea that no person has the right to interfere with another person’s right to life. Kant would believe it does not matter the way the women got impregnated, it is irrelevant. In other words everything Kant believed involved “Human Worth”. Killing a fetus would be destroying “worth” which goes against everything Kant stood for. His view would be that the fetus was brought into this world through another person, one of the aspects of human worth, making an abortion a non-option. Essentially Kant is saying that even if the women was raped or cannot afford to raise the child she has no right to take away a life, there would be other options not involving the taking of life. The other view, the one of the utilitarian’s disputes the thoughts of Immanuel Kant. A utilitarian is a person that believes every action should be done with maximizing utility as the first priority, meaning maximizing happiness of all.......

Words: 700 - Pages: 3

Describe the Strengths and Weaknesses of Utilitarian and Kantian Ethics.

...Describe the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarian and Kantian ethics. Utilitarianism is a consequence based ethics perspective which makes decisions that promote the greatest overall amount of good consequences over bad consequences for the greatest number of people in the world. An ethical tradition that directs us to decide based on overall consequences of our act. It is a cost-benefit analysis that fits with business decision making and into people’s intuitive criteria for deciding moral problem. It provides an objective and attractive way of resolving conflicts of self-interest. When most people feel that justice is done, it is easier to implement and defend based on the “common good”. Utilitarianism makes policies for the benefit of the majority of workers, suppliers and customers; think through a number of “frames” before making a decision and therefore the quality of the decision making should be higher. However the nature of the consequences is biased as too much focus on ethical ends can lead to ignoring moral consideration of the means. Eg, if an organization needs satisfy the shareholders hence they retrench 20% randomly so that 80% of staff are kept. But is the financial outcomes the best? It is difficult to evaluate all consequences. For example, through the stakeholder analysis, the rights and interests of minority is ignored (eg, suppliers) or those who are affected in the future. It is unfair to those who lack......

Words: 484 - Pages: 2

Utilitarian Approach to Non-Human Life

...Utilitarian Approach to Non-Human Life Randi A. Teel PHI208 Ethic and Moral Reasoning Instructor Galen Johnson June 23, 2014 \ Animals: Deserving of Utilitarianism? 1 Utilitarianism is best defined as given a choice between two acts, the one that creates greater happiness for the greatest number of people should be chosen. This should be applied to non-human beings as well. Animals are essential in our everyday lives. They provide companionship, nourishment for our bodies and can provide amazement to our eyes when seen in their natural habitat. They are important in human life. They deserve respect. We as the superior being should make decisions for non-humans based on the utilitarianism approach creating greater happiness or good for the greater numbers. Our decisions based on this approach when making choices where non-humans are concerned will be a beneficial choice for both humans and animals. So what do humans and animals have in common? René Descartes, for instance, regarded animals as simply “physical bodies that lacked minds or souls; thus, animals were similar to organic machines.” (Mosser, 2013) This type of thought is also coincides with Western and Christian thinking. That is, all is ranked from highest to lowest. God and Angels are the......

Words: 1253 - Pages: 6

Utilitarian Theory

...The utilitarianism theory aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Utilitarianism is a major position in normative ethics late 18th and 19th century. Utilitarianism is an attempt to provide an answer to the question what a man should do in order to produce the best consequences possible for all persons affected from the action he undertakes Utilitarianism trusts on some theory of intrinsic value, meaning that when something is held to be good, all other values are assumed to deduce their worth from their relation to this intrinsic good as a means to an end. . The utilitarian takes all the happiness and suffering or pain produced by the act into consideration independent of the fact whether arising after the act has been performed or during its performance. The happiness can be considered as the result of the gathered happiness of each person involved. Utilitarianism is based on the assumption that it is possible to evaluate the consequences of two different actions by comparing their intrinsic values. Utilitarianism tries to create a complex but fair system of ethics by establishing several generalizing principles. Nevertheless, there are various problems concerning the applicability of utilitarian theory, the main problem is the subordination of the individual under the common mark since each individual has a different perception of what happiness is and how it can be obtained. Due to the......

Words: 1899 - Pages: 8

Utilitarian Theory

...matters. The debate between Kant and Mill is precisely whether our sense of duty can be compromised by appeals to consequences. Utilitarianism and Kant’s theory both have similarities, strengths and weaknesses.      An instrumental good is something that helps you achieve something else. If there are only instrumental goods, then A is good because it helps bring the outcome of B, which is good because it helps bring the outcome of C, and so on, therefore our notion of goodness has no anchor. To some people this seems irrational, and they think goodness must have an anchor, they want to posit an "intrinsic" good somewhere. Both utilitarians and Kantians agree there is an intrinsic good. They also agree in being monists rather than pluralists about goodness. There is one and only one intrinsic good for both of them. If asked what is that good? Utilitarians would say pleasure. Kantians say a good will.“Kants theory has less scope than utilitarianism. Katians do not claim to discover whether acts whose maxims they do not know fully just.”(O’Neill 169)      Both theories have strengths. Utilitarianism is a consequential theory, they believe that good consequences are what makes an act good, basing its understanding of right action on consequence.. According to this theory the utility of our actions is determined by the amount of happiness it will produce. The idea is quite similar to the golden rule,“Treat others how you want to be treated.”There are two kinds of......

Words: 820 - Pages: 4

Utilitarian and Hedonic Products

...Utilitarian and Hedonic Products Christine Squires MKTG 310/ Consumer Behavior Professor Kimberly Roberts June 7th, 2015 Utilitarian and Hedonic Product Consumers’ choices to buy a product are persuaded by utilitarian and hedonic considerations. In most cases, it is found that hedonic goods are purchased for luxury consumption for fun, pleasure and excitement. For example – designer cloths, ZR1 Corvette, luxury diamond earrings, 80” LCD TV for my husband’s man cave etc. While utilitarian goods are purchased for instrumental or functional use. Essentially these goods are purchased for full filling the basic needs. The examples of these are like my children’s computers for school, replacing broken lawn mower for a newer version, water heater (economical), tires for car, every day shoes for my two children etc. While buying the hedonic product, a consumer thinks from form the luxury point of view, while to buy the utilitarian product, he thinks from the necessity point of view that can full fill his basic needs without any additional features. Both utilitarian and hedonic consumption of the product is discretionary choice of the consumer and the difference between these two decisions is the matter of degree of perception. We can take the example of a Chrysler Town and country Minivan . One consumer can buy it for talking in emergency time in their family members while the other consumer’s need to buy a mobile phone can be chatting with their friends through internet or...

Words: 523 - Pages: 3

Mill's Utilitarian

...an innocent person to make the majority of the people happy in a murder case? In a rural town in North Carolina, there is a mass murderer on the loose. The terrified citizens want an arrest to be made. To calm the nerves of its citizens, the police pick a person at random and prosecute him in front of everyone by hanging him in the street. The police made a decision that was detrimental to one person, but based on Mill’s utilitarian belief, the most essential concern is that the police made the rest of the citizens happy. It is my opinion that the police did not make a morally correct decision. It is honestly wrong to murder an innocent person. When a person takes his own interpretation of utilitarianism to increase the happiness of the greatest number of people and justifies an action that they make based on Mill’s argument, is troublesome. What is the argument? Do you believe that utilitarianism? Do you? Do you believe that utilitarianism is a way of the present that disregards the outcome in the future as long as the majority is profiting? The utilitarian view is neither the way that people should act nor the best way to live a moral life. It is not the best way of life. ...

Words: 502 - Pages: 3

Critically Assess a Utilitarian Response to Environmental Ethics

...Critically assess a utilitarian response to environmental ethics. Utilitarianism is teleological, concerned with the end or purpose of actions. It is also consequentialist, judging actions right or wrong according to their outcome. Many scientists, politicians and philosophers have expressed concern that the world is facing an environmental catastrophe. If this is to be believed, an ethical theory that focuses on the results of our actions seems most appropriate. Utilitarianism is able to take into account the risks to the environment of global warming, ozone depletion, pollution, deforestation etc. Traditional utilitarianism would have done that using Bentham’s Hedonic Calculus. Bentham would have asked how likely it was that certain results would occur. He would have weighed up the benefits of any proposed action, such as the building of a new motorway, against the adverse affects, focussing on the pleasure and pain that resulted, and nothing else. This sort of calculation is practical and flexible, allowing for a different answer in every different set of circumstances. For example, building a road in Rwanda might lead to increased trade, a way of transporting important materials, medicines etc – in other words, a lifeline. The destruction of wildlife in such an underdeveloped country might be negligible, and the pollution minimal. However, a similar road in the UK might run through residential areas. The pollution from the thousands of cars might have a......

Words: 936 - Pages: 4

A Utilitarian Egoists’ Approach to Ethics

...A Utilitarian Egoists’ Approach to Ethics When an individual takes actions there is always a reason. Whether it be a subconscious inkling that’s driving them, or a religious belief, the intent is there. As for me, what is my intent? In the past I have been focused on coming to an objective conclusion to a moral dilemma. However I have come to the realization that my opinion matters and that how I benefit from the situation matters. Granted, I want what is best for the majority, but only if I am part of said majority. I find nothing wrong with choosing an answer that suits me best, while keeping the well-being of others in mind. We all have different methods of discerning whether or not something is the “right” thing to do or if it is done for the “right” reasons. After much contemplation and the review of my ethical inventories, I have developed my own method. I have embraced my subjective biases and past experiences and combined them with my drive to better myself and achieve happiness and reduce the consequences. I have been called egotistical in the past, and I rejected it completely, now I am embracing it but with a twist. This new approach to ethics, one that may seem to be an oxymoron, but also one I find fundamentally sound, is that of a utilitarian egoist. The first misconception I had over three months ago, before I had made the plunge into the endless sea of ethics, was that doing something for others for the sole purpose of self-happiness was wrong. It......

Words: 853 - Pages: 4

Evaluate a Utilitarian Approach to Abortion.

...Utilitarianism is the chief teleological ethical theory today which considers the consequences of an action; such as abortion. This ethical approach to abortion is useful because it determines that “an action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number”. It considers the hedonic calculus, designed by Bentham, which weighs up the pleasure and pain generated by the available moral actions; the theory mainly focuses on both pleasure and pain and the ability to maximize pleasure over pain. It also emphasises the ends of abortion over its means; so it judges the rightness of abortion by the end result, possible pleasure, it produces. The views of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are significant in illustrating the effects of a Utilitarian approach to abortion. Firstly, Bentham’s version of utilitarianism, known as Act utilitarianism, is the most relevant theory to the issue of abortion. His theory remains teleological, using the outcome of an action to determine whether it is good or bad. With abortion being a personal issue, it seems that act utilitarianism is the most adequate theory because it looks at the consequences of an abortion, taking each situation into separate account of all others. This would then enable women who have been raped, for example, to choose whether they go ahead with the birth because they may not be able to live with the consequences of their situation and bring the child up with the history of the conception attached to the......

Words: 1333 - Pages: 6