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29 JUNE, 2017 (MAINS)



Q1.  Discuss Utilitarianism. Also, contrast it with the de-ontological theory of ethics of Kant. (200 words)


Please write the answer in comments section

  • Osho Korde

     Utilitarianism:
    • Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility.
    • “Utility” is defined in various ways, usually in terms of the well-being of sentient entities.
    • Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action.
     Deontological theory:
    • Kant proposes that only duty and rules should govern our actions, as consequences are beyond our control.
    • Kant‘s theory of ethics is known as Kantian ethics and it is considered deontological because deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule. His theory holds that an action is either “just” or “unjust” without any regard to the consequences of that same action.

     Similarities between utilitarianism and deontological theory:
    • The categorical imperative and the principle of utility both provide a clear moral structure.
    • Both have elements of quantative theories as Bentham has the hedonic calculus whereas Kant has ‘Goodwill+duty=Moral action

     Differences between utilitarianism and deontological theory:
    • Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory which states that the morality is based upon the outcome whereas Kant bases his theory on the intention (duty)
    • Kant disregards emotion, whereas Peter singer would claim that preference which are a part of emotion play a big part of morality decision making etc.
    • utilitarianism can be applied to any situation whereas Kant says that non-moral commands (Hypothetical imperatives) are useless.

    To decide what is right or wrong in our lives, I think that we should first define the scope of our dilemma, take into account the advantages and disadvantages in both course of actions, and only then we should apply the appropriate theory to justify ourselves.