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Orthodox utilitarianism refers to a philosophical theory in which the fundamental human good is the well-being of the largest number of people in a society (Mulgan, 2014). The correct behavior in this philosophy, faced with a variety of options, is that whose consequences, whether it causes sorrow, contribute to the most satisfaction and wrong. No moral principle is seen as absolute or necessary in this theory because the possibility of an action to bring pleasure or unhappiness is linked to the context and circumstances (Eggleston & Miller, 2014). This hypothesis compares with selfishness in which a person pursues their self-interests. Under traditional utilitarianism, in any particular situation, the moral thing that is to be done follows an action evaluation strategy that commences with comprehension of the situation at hand. The understanding of the current situation requires a precise knowledge of the direct and indirect attributes of the case (Eggleston & Miller, 2014). Subsequently, one establishes all the available alternative actions relevant to the case given its current and probable future condition. Thirdly, one considers all costs; direct and indirect as well as benefits resulting from each of the available courses of action (Mulgan, 2014). Finally, one chooses the action with the greatest net benefits and the least harm to the most members of the society.
Utilitarianism attractiveness lies in its ability to offer an approach to situations and problems that are similar to most humans. In business, for instance, most people want actions or products that provide the highest degree of benefits at the most efficient price rates (Frederiksen, 2012). It’s also appealing due to its impartiality. Utilitarianism caters for equality in that the happiness of the society is non-discriminative and does not favor for societal or life divisions that have been used as a basis for prejudice. Besides, utilitarianism is simplistic as it offers a quick way to judge an action based on its ethical and moral basis. Consequently, this simple nature of the approach makes it easily applicable in different scenarios without considerable flexibility (Frederiksen, 2012).
Ecological ethics is a philosophical discipline that governs the relationship between humans and the environment (Thompson, 2017). These laws provide the guide for environmental preservation. The duties and responsibilities that people hold towards their surroundings are outlined and described under this field of ethics (Thompson, 2017). Living and non-living components of the environment make up an important functional part of the human life, and hence, morals are demanded from the person in their interaction.
Utilitarianism upholds ecological ethics in that environmental operations should be for the well-being of all (Mulgan, 2014). From a utilitarian stance, relations between humans and the environment which are likely to have negative impacts are discouraged. Utilitarianism supports environmental ethics by stipulating that the relationship should be one that results in the maximum benefits the majority of society members (Thompson, 2017). It hence discourages biological activities that cause environmental degradation and is perilous to humans, the environment and other forms of life. Besides, through inhibiting harmful actions, utilitarianism encourages profitable ones. Ecological ethics, therefore, concerns activities that bear a positive impact on the environment and other forms of life around humans. From this view, activities such as habitat preservation and cleaning are encouraged. Also, this perspective guides the formulation of environmental protection policies and laws (Thompson, 2017). There is a utilitarian sense in the policies as they aim at preservation of the environment and ensuring that maximum good is yielded from such activities.
Eggleston, B., & Miller, D. E. (Eds.). (2014). The Cambridge companion to utilitarianism. Cambridge University Press.
Frederiksen, C. S. (2012). The presentation of utilitarianism within the field of business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics Education, 9, 193-214.
Mulgan, T. (2014). Understanding Utilitarianism. Routledge.
Thompson, P. B. (2017). The spirit of the soil: Agriculture and environmental ethics. Taylor & Francis.
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