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The philosophy of utilitarianism emphasizes on the effects of behavior in a normative situation. For example, the principle argues that the lawfulness or wrongfulness of the action should be judged on the basis of the outcomes of the action. Having an action that ends in public benefit suggests that the action is morally upright and, thus, that the person doing the action is deemed to be right. The philosophy, founded by Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sidgwick, believes that morality is built to enhance happiness and minimize suffering and thereby make life easier.As such, the utilitarian reject moral codes that increase pain and unhappiness and focuses on individuals performing actions that best benefits others rather than the individual performing the action.
Utilitarianism theory can be said to be in accord with the psychological and behavioral data as behaviorists propose that individuals promote actions that do not harm others. From this perspective, the behaviorists find it appealing that the theory promotes an appreciation of positive social behavior rather than individualistic actions focused on personal benefits.
The theory offers a wider range as it is not restricted to specific domain and phenomenon. The breadth and usability of the theory makes it essential to be applied under different phenomena such as education, justice, and rights. Being an original theory under consequentialism, it offers a genuine explanation of the existing social contexts of the theory. For instance, it proposes that individuals should be equally concerned about everyone so that the morality of the society is upheld through developing working personal relationships.
However, the theory fails to satisfy the precision regarding interpretability as it is developed in a variety of perspectives making it difficult to understand the specific elements of the theory. For instance, it is complex in determining what things are considered to be good or bad, whose good should be focused upon, and if actions are to be considered right because of their predictable and foreseeable consequences or the actual consequences. As a matter of fact, some actions may be intended to have specific consequences that are good but in the end the actual results produced may be bad and therefore making it difficult to apply a universal interpretation of the theory.
Besides, the rationality of the theory is expressed in the manner in which it makes claims concerning the utility of actions and rules. For instance, the theory proposes that the utility principle is more concerned with making the rules under which the utilitarianism theory can be utilized rather that choosing acts to be performed. As such, the theory cares for the circumstances under which the action can be deemed to have best consequences, even though the action may be horrific. Hence, the rationality of the actions is shaped by the rules which maximize happiness and the consequences under which the acts are carried out.
Through examination of the utilitarianism theory, my perception of morality has changed is such a way that, in making a decision regarding a given situation, it is important to consider the results of the actions to be taken. In case the action results in greater happiness, then the action can be termed to be moral. In the same manner, the morality concept is also to be guided by a set of rules which focus on attaining greater good. Therefore, in exceptional circumstances, the gut has to be trusted before making decisions in a moral situation like a horrific act intended to have greater good for more people.
Honesty as a moral issue revolves around individuals being fair and telling the truth for justness and virtue. Individuals who do not lie at all can be considered to be honest as they develop trust in their listeners which builds a relationship upon which one can be trusted for their word. In such an environment, either party deserve the other party’s trust or therefore individuals on either side are compelled to act virtuously by telling the truth and being just to each other. However, there exists exceptional situations in which individuals can be termed to be honest people even though they may not tell the truth at all times. In situations an individual tells a deceptive lie so as to save a life, it would be considered an honest action. For instance, if persecutors pursuing John were to meet him and ask him whether he had seen John , and the victim responded by saying John was not very far, it would be considered as a deceptive truth. In such a circumstance that John was intended to be persecuted unjustly, it can be seen that it is just for him to lie to the persecutors. Hence, it is seen that John is honest, though, in an attempt to save his life, he tells a lie. In fact, lying to his persecutors, John cannot be judged to be dishonest since the pursuers were unworthy of his trust, making the lie a justification for the unjust persecution that was intended.
My thinking in regard to morality has changed over the course of the semester as I have come to understand the different virtues that are upheld by the society. Having understood what virtues are, I have come to appreciate the value of generosity, honesty, among other virtues. Observing the way I approach ethical situations like reasons for doing particular things, my decisions have now been changed in a way that I do things because I feel like doing them rather than doing them out of duty. The change can be noted to have come about because of the examination of the different theories like egoism, Kant’s, and utilitarianism. Some theories like virtue ethics has contributed to my growth regarding decisions under dilemmas where I am able to make the right decisions. I am in a position to make decisions based on what is ethical rather than how the action benefits me directly, which implies that my moral character has been modified for the better.
The class has further impacted my life in a way that my sense of moral motivation has been improved as my power in decision making has come to be based on motives like friendship, loyalty, and love so that I can make virtuous decisions rather than performing actions out of duty. Furthermore, my sense of impartiality has developed to an extent that in my relationships at school, and within the society are now grounded on equal treatment of each individual. Caring for each individual equally allows for others to perceive you as trustworthy and courageous which in turn is reciprocated strengthening the interpersonal relationships and morality.
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