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Pros And Cons Of Utilitarianism

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Pros and Cons of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a philosophy in which the ends justify the means, or in which the morality of an action is determined by the function that follows the action. Although Utilitarianism has many good principals that are both logical and appealing, the contradictions of the philosophy make it incompatible with Christian ethics. The moral standards that utilitarianism is supposedly based on only work when a person doesn't consider the personal emotions that might hinder or get in the way of what the end result of the action is. The function may not be changed or diverted according to the philosophy. It also cannot change when someone does not think about the bigger picture in perspective to the function.

On the surface the logic used by utilitarians such as John Stuart Mill, is easy to agree with as it appears to be based on common sense. But this logic is flawed. The Principle of Utility is the core of utilitarianism. Its main point is that the "right choice results in the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people." (Longtin, 63) This seems like a good principle, but when you examine it at a deeper level, this point is not sensible or morally correct. The hidden dilemma is when you take into account the personal feelings of the person who part of your decision. But Mills philosophy says that everyone should look upon a decision from the viewpoint of someone on the outside with no connections to the decision emotionally or physically. To make the decision as though it would bring more happiness to others if pain were only brought upon on a few. A few people to take away the pain of many.

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This line of thinking brings up the point of emotion interfering with a decision as this is a natural thing to do because we are human and we all have a conscience. Our conscience helps us to do what is right or what we think is right. Also this inhibits us from doing so if personal emotion gets in the way of our decisions. A decision cannot be changed or stopped because we are emotionally involved with someone that it may affect, according to utilitarianism. It says we have to look at the bigger picture and if one thing may cause pain for a few people but save the pain or unhappiness of many people than the action is good. The end result justifies the action by how many people can be happy.

The Catholic Church does agree with Utilitarians on some things such as the intentions of the action must be factored in to get the end result of the morality. But unlike Utilitarians, the Church doesn't believe that the actions are the sole determination to weather or not the action is moral or immoral. This and the golden rule are the only ties to Utilitarianism that Christianity have together. They are two logics that have very different principles that are based on totally different ideologies. The Christians base their logic on the teachings of Jesus and Utilitarians base their logic on the teachings and writings of John Stuart Mill. Mill inspired such movements as Hedonism, which the Catholic Church calls Utilitarians because they only look for worldly pleasures. (

One of Mill's principles was Jesus' Golden Rule. This rule that both have in common can be viewed upon as a link to Christianity. But this simply is not true. The Christian perspective would be that an action is only good if the intentions of the action are true and genuine and the action is morally right. These two things are taken into

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consideration when determining if an action is moral or not. The morality can't just be looked upon as how many people the results would make happy. Christians reject the idea that an immoral action can be justified if the intentions of an action were good. Utilitarians believe that no action is evil in of itself. Any action can be looked upon as good depending



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