The Flaws Within Utilitarianism Persuasive Essay by Nicky

The Flaws Within Utilitarianism
A discussion on the flaws in the moral philosophy of utilitarianism.
# 149245 | 1,555 words | 13 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 30, 2011 in Political Science (Mill, John Stuart) , Philosophy (Ethics) , Ethics (General)

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The paper discusses how the issue of consequentialism is central to the theory of utilitarianism and focuses on the central dilemma that utilitarianism faces as a moral theory. The paper explains that utilitarianism denies and excludes other moral possibilities, and in its emphasis on consequences, it fails to deal with moral action that does not lead to consequences. The paper concludes that this theory tends to subvert a more comprehensive and wide ranging understanding of morality and ethics.

The Dilemma Within Utilitarianism

From the Paper:

"The first dilemma that is evident from the above discussion of this theoretical stance is the way that it relates to the complexity of reality. While it does cover some ethical and moral aspects, it is essentially limited in terms of the various aspects of moral and ethical behavior. The second fundamental critique of this theory is that within the framework of the theory it neglects to take account of the individual self and the individual's motivation, as a central component of ethical decision-making and action.
"In its focus on the 'greater good', as a theory it places itself in a position in which it cannot account for many actions and intentions that are deemed to be morally correct within the social and philosophical nexus. Simply stated, while utilitarianism has some validity it fails in that it reduces all legitimate moral value to the group and to outcomes. As a theory it is not only biased and privileges the group good over the individual, but it also privileges quantifiable aspect of moral behavior over quality. In other words, it assumes that the good of many is morally more justifiable than the good actions of a single individual. These are theoretical prejudices that make this theory suspect in terms of a comprehensive moral philosophy and outlook."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Consequentialism. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from
  • Hedonic Calculus. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from
  • Hostility and the Minimization of Suffering. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from
  • John Stuart Mill: Overview. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from
  • Lee E. Introduction to Utilitarianism. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from

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