Utilitarianism and Deontological Theory


Added on  2023-04-08

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Utilitarianism Theory and Deontological Ethics
Date of submission

Moral reasoning is the process of thinking with the aim of determining whether an idea is right
or wrong. In the process of knowing whether something is right or wrong, it follows that one
must in the first place know what that thing or action is intended to accomplish. This paper is
going to examine two theories namely deontology and utilitarianism with respect to moral
Khan (2011) argues that utilitarianism is one of the normative ethical theories, which places the
locus of right and wrong solely on the outcome that is the consequences of an action, choosing
one action over the other. This theory goes beyond an individual’s interest and focuses on the
interest of other people based on an action. There are a number of principles that have been put
forward to support this theory. According to Bentham’s principle of utility, the role of pain and
pleasure in human life is recognized. An action is either approved or disapproved based on the
amount of pleasure or pain it brings about the consequences of actions. The third principle
according to Bentham is equating good with pleasure and evil with pain. Lastly, both pleasure
and pain can be quantified (Cilli, 2019, p.9).
This theory was adjusted by John Stuart Mill on the philosophical emphasis he asserts that;
The quality of happiness is central to utilitarianism instead of its quantity.
There is a distinction between higher and lower pleasure
Utilitarianism is aimed at promoting the capability of achieving happiness to most

Main principle utilitarianism
The main principle that guides this theory is as denoted by Mill is the greatest happiness
principle that state; an action is right as long as it maximizes general utility. The happiness of
each person counts as much as anyone else’ i.e. greatest good for the greatest number. In line
with this theory, its principles are often applied to general rules or particular actions that are act-
utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism (Meyers, 2015, p.474).
Act utilitarianism is often used directly to each alternative acts in a situation of choice. With
respect to this act, the right act is the one that brings the best results or minimum pain to an
individual. Rule-utilitarianism is often used to determine the validity of moral principles. For
instance, the rule of promise keeping is established through looking the consequences of
breaking rue by will and in a world that promises were binding (Kelly & Elliott, 2018, p.429).
Methodology of arriving at moral judgement
As asserted in the journal of Product Process Versus (2017), in order to arrive at a moral
judgement, utilitarianism suggests that one needs to ask himself what effect the action in a
certain situation will have on the general rule that would have the best consequences. In line with
this, most utilitarian scholars suggest that morality must be arrived at depending on balancing the
beneficial and harmful consequences of any action done at any particular time. This means that
before taking any action, one has to consider the effects or consequences that may be caused by
his action if either it may cause minimum harm and maximize pleasure on for the general
population or not. In line with this, one must consider only taking actions that maximize pleasure
(Oliveira, 2018, p.2582).

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