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The Problem With Utilitarianism

 
 
stevecook172001
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 09:00 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Night Ripper wrote:
Like I said, the problem you're facing is, as soon as you jumped ship from the actual consequences to the intended consequences you are now taking up the same argument I am.

I didn't jump ship to the intended consequences. I explained to you the agend does not have to intend the consequences he's likely to bring about. He doesn't even have to know or care about them What counts is the complete bundle of possible actual consequences, weighed by their statistical probability at the time he acts.

You seem incredibly confused here Thomas. Make your mind up why don't you.

Either you think that the intentions of the actor are what determine the morality of an action or you think that the consequences of the action are what determine its morality. If you think that the intentions are paramount then all that is left is a second order debate of what constitutes "good" intentions. You think it is utility. Others may disagree.

On this last post of yours, you seem to be vacillating back to your original consequentialist position that "...What counts is the complete bundle of possible actual consequences, weighed by their statistical probability at the time he acts.... "

Given the above, I repeat my earlier charge that such a philosophy must logically condone the Roman games, public hanging, the Holocaust and snuff movies since they all produced a great deal of pleasure for a relative majority at the time.

By relative, I mean when compared to the unspeakable suffering of the unfortunate minority that your nasty little anti-human philosophy does not see the need to take into account as long as the sums add-up eh?

0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 10:56 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu wrote:
Thomas wrote:
Correct. Good catch, Robert!
Ah, unattributed plagiarism.


That is silly, I pointed it out for the camaraderie gained from shared cultural references. It was not an argument, and certainly not plagiarism.
0 Replies
 
Ubuntu
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Oct, 2010 01:53 pm
This might be a problem for classical utilitarianism but, in my view, raping a child would be unjustifiable because our first moral obligation is to prevent/minimize suffering, not increase happiness for it's own sake. Avoiding suffering is necessary, experiencing happiness is not. If (and only if) raping a child would prevent even more suffering then it would cause, then it would be a necessary evil.

Edit : it might be morally justifiable but I would not do it, nor could I allow someone to if I could prevent it.
0 Replies
 
Gargi
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Sep, 2013 12:52 pm
@Thomas,
The child's safety doesn't really matter if there are a hundred people watching it and liking it. If one person's pain, no matter how great, can make others happy, a utilitarian wouldn't find a problem with it. Also, in a society where the popular morality favours raping a child (including child pornography), that shall be the will of the masses and the lawmaker has no option but to follow it.

Justice is not, theoretically speaking, doing one person's good at the harm of the other. If exploitation is a good thing for the majority, the minority cannot have any right against that.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Sep, 2013 09:09 am
@Gargi,
Gargi wrote:
The child's safety doesn't really matter if there are a hundred people watching it and liking it.

That's not true, because all variants of Utilitarianism account for the intensity of both the child's pain and the mob's pleasure. In practice, in this scenario, intensity would outweigh quantity. You are arguing against a strawman version of Utilitarianism.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Sep, 2013 12:06 pm
@Gargi,
Gargi wrote:
The child's safety doesn't really matter if there are a hundred people watching it and liking it. If one person's pain, no matter how great, can make others happy, a utilitarian wouldn't find a problem with it. Also, in a society where the popular morality favours raping a child (including child pornography), that shall be the will of the masses and the lawmaker has no option but to follow it.

Justice is not, theoretically speaking, doing one person's good at the harm of the other. If exploitation is a good thing for the majority, the minority cannot have any right against that.
Its hard to understand how one can almost equate
RAPING a child with taking pictures of a child.
In some jurisdictions, the penalty for rape has included death.
In my opinion: that was reasonable.
The logic of severely penalizing anyone for taking pictures evades me
(except as part of military censorship, as in the Rosenbergs' case).





David
0 Replies
 
void123
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Apr, 2014 07:26 pm
@Night Ripper,
or killing socrates could be see as ..the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.. or jesus or whom ever the majority deems fit. mob rule.
0 Replies
 
vwilliams167
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2017 06:22 pm
@Night Ripper,
Yes, I agree this is definitely a problem with Utilitarianism as a good working theory. That is a bit extreme. But, yeah, I get it because it does state that one should do whatever brings about the most happiness. What about the practical question “What ought a man to do?” Its answer is that he ought to act so as to produce the best consequences possible, according to Utilitarianism. However, one should consider which Utilitarianism theory to follow. First, there is Act Utilitarianism, this is the theory that assumes that each individual action is to be evaluated by reference to the principle of "Utility," does it make people happy? Then do it. In the "rape" scenario referring to "Utilitarianism," One would have to consider "Rule-based" Utilitarianism since it relies solely on a set of rules derived using the principle of "Utility" to guide one's determination of right or wrong. For example, A society would have more happiness if its members were not falsely accused or did not lie; so a rule would "prohibit" those acts. The moral action would be that which follows general rules rather than directly applying the principle of utility to each action. Unfortunately, "Act Utilitarianism" is incompatible with justice and privacy, allowing an innocent person to be falsely accused to benefit the many or a person's privacy to be violated if they are unaware and the perpetrator derives pleasure. In addition, it demands total impartiality and does not consider backward reasons, requiring us to treat friends and family the way we treat strangers.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Feb, 2017 03:45 am
Utilitarianism has a broken clay foundation...it assumes the common sense pov there is a fundamental difference between practice and theory. Nothing could be more false. A good theory must be practical...
Utilitarianism reduced to its essence was about mankind giving up on explaining and looking for deeper answers. That is not in my book of ought to do stuff...

(I will go down swinging till my last breath)
0 Replies
 
 

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