In the course of the week’s discussion, you will need to do the following (not necessarily in this order):
Engage with the text:
Using at least one quote from one of the required readings, briefly explain the ethical theory of utilitarianism.
Ethical theories have core ideas, principles, and assumptions. For any ethical theory, there are objections that some may raise against those core ideas, principles, and assumptions. Are any of them justified, or not?
The prompt asks several detailed questions here, so please read carefully:
Choose one of these objections and briefly explain the core idea in your own words.
Reflect on the theory:
Present a scenario (real or imagined) in which you would make one choice if you were committed to employing utilitarian precepts, but someone who finds this objection compelling would probably make a different choice. (In other words, put yourself in the mind of someone making that objection, and you’re imagining a scenario in which that person would likely make a certain ethical judgment, but showing how you would make a different judgment by employing utilitarian reasoning.)
2 Reflect on yourself:
In your view, does considering this situation strengthen and support the objection (thus showing a “weakness” within utilitarian theory), or does it help show the “strength” of utilitarian theory, by showing how an application of utilitarian reasoning could respond to that objection?
Hursthouse, R., & Pettigrove, G. (2016, December 8). Virtue ethics . Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/
Mill, J. S. (1873). Autobiography . Retrieved from http://www.utilitarianism.com/millauto/
O’Neill, O. (n.d.). A simplified account of Kant’s ethics . Retrieved from http://users.manchester.edu/Facstaff/SSNaragon/Online/texts/201/O’Neill,%20Kant.pdf
Sayre-McCord, G. (2000). Kant’s Grounding for the metaphysics of morals: A very brief selective summary of sections I and II . Retrieved from http://www.unc.edu/~gsmunc/phil22/Kantsum.pdf
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