Consequentialism

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By maxcarey35
Words 1873
Pages 8
Max Carey
Ethics Paper 2
December 2, 2011
The Argument for Consequentialism Consequentialism and Imannuel Kant’s Theory of Moral Value provide a good framework for deciding what right actions are and specifically what actions are deemed intrinsically valuable. Consequentialism is going to emphasize that actions maximizing intrinsic value for all people affected by a situation are morally right while Kant is going to stress that only the motive behind an action determines whether an action is right, regardless of the consequences. Although consequentialism attributes the rightness of an action only on a consequence, consequentialist theories are more comprehensive theories of right action because they consider both motives and consequences in making moral decision, whereas Kant’s theory does not.
Consequentialist theories of right action have two components. The first component states that a consequentialist theory will always answer what is intrinsically valuable. An object or thing that has intrinsic value is something that has value for its own sake. For example, pleasure and the feeling of happiness are intrinsically valuable because they are good in and of itself. The specific thing that is deemed intrinsically valuable can change according to what consequentialist theory one accepts. For example, utilitarians find the welfare of sentient beings intrinsically valuable while a hedonistic utilitarian finds only pleasure intrinsically valuable.
The second component to consequentialist theories explains a principle of right action. In the view of a consequentialist, right action is the action that will produce the greatest net sum of intrinsic value for all people in the long run for all people affected by an action. In other words, in deciding what action to make, the one that has the least amount of negative consequences will be the action…...

Similar Documents

“Consequentialism Is Superior to Non-Consequentialism as a Basis for Making Moral Decisions.” Discuss.

...The ethical theory of consequentialism states that we ought to base our moral decisions on the decisions that create the best outcomes. Therefore people should act so as to maximise good consequences. On the other hand non-consequentialism focuses on the moral rightness or wrongness of an act by looking at its intrinsic qualities rather than the nature of its consequences. I do not believe consequentialism is superior to non-consequentialism as a basis for making moral decisions due to its flawed nature. Consequentialism is impractical in real life situations as it is very demanding on a person. For they have to think through all the potential consequences of an action which is very time consuming. It is also highly unlikely a person will be able to accurately perceive all the potential consequences of an action at the time of making the decision therefore making it unrealistic. Another objection raised against consequentialism regarding it being too morally demanding is that it suggests one should abandon or neglect one’s own pursuits of happiness if even slightly better results could be created by acting in a way against the good of the person. This is asking people to act selflessly which is very unlikely and goes against most peoples natural instincts. This point also raises the issue that people are rarely if ever making decisions that will create the best outcomes and if they were it would be impossible for normal life to ensue as every act would be questioned, even......

Words: 422 - Pages: 2

Ethics

...Max Carey Ethics Paper 2 December 2, 2011 The Argument for Consequentialism Consequentialism and Imannuel Kant’s Theory of Moral Value provide a good framework for deciding what right actions are and specifically what actions are deemed intrinsically valuable. Consequentialism is going to emphasis that actions maximizing intrinsic value of all people affected by a situation are morally right while Kant is going to stress that only the motive behind an action determines whether an action is right, regardless of the consequences. Although consequentialism attributes the rightness of an action only on a consequence, consequentialist theories are broader theories of right action because they consider both motives and consequences in making moral decision, whereas Kant’s theory does not. Consequentialist theories of right action have two components. The first component states that a consequentialist theory will always answer what is intrinsically valuable. An object or thing that has intrinsic value is something that has value for its own sake. For example, pleasure and the feeling of happiness are intrinsically valuable because they are good in and of itself. The specific thing that is deemed intrinsically valuable can change according to what consequentialist theory one accepts. For example, utilitarians find the welfare of sentient beings intrinsically valuable while a hedonist finds only pleasure intrinsically valuable. The second component of......

Words: 1765 - Pages: 8

Evaluating the Moral Justification of Force in the Uk Police

...Evaluating the Moral Justification of Force in the UK Police Consequentialism and the Use of Deadly Force Among Police Personnel in the UK Against a backdrop of a democratic society, the use of deadly force by the police in countries such as the UK seems implausible for human rights activists. First, police officers are expected to uphold the human rights of every individual hence, civilian rights are always preserved even in criminal cases where the due process of law is considered to be the golden standard in the judicial system. Thus, threading the line between regulations and policies of the agency as well as the ethical and moral dilemma in the use of deadly force predisposes police officers to question the legitimacy as well as the moral justifications in their use of deadly force. While several philosophical theorists have argued for different justifications through philosophical theories, the theory of consequentialism appears to be the one that closely justifies the use of deadly force among the police. Before examining the moral and ethical arguments for the use of deadly force using the consequentialist paradigm, let us first examine the important aspects of deadly force and the use of it by the UK police. First, deadly force as defined by Geller and Scott (23) pertains to the force reasonably capable of causing death or bodily harm. According to this definition, an act that can kill should be consumated before it can be considered as a deadly force hence;......

Words: 3190 - Pages: 13

Essays

...Consequentialism Whether an action is morally right or wrong depends entirely on its consequences.   An action is right if it brings about the best outcome of the choices available.  Otherwise it is wrong. The Good:  Things (goals, states of affairs) that are worth pursuing and promoting.   The Right:  the moral rightness (or wrongness) of actions and policies. It says: “actions are Right when they maximize the Good”. And “"The ends justify the means". Consequentialism is based on two principles: * Whether an act is right or wrong depends only on the results of that act * The more good consequences an act produces, the better or more right that act It gives us this guidance when faced with a moral dilemma: * A person should choose the action that maximizes good consequences And it gives this general guidance on how to live: * People should live so as to maximize good consequence Consequentialism does not itself say what kinds of consequences are good. Hence people can agree on consequentialism while disagreeing about what kind of outcome is good or bad. If you happen to be in charge of setting speed limits, you might be thinking that a bad result is a death: the fewer deaths, the better. But the people who die in accidents were all going to die eventually anyway, so a fatal accident does not mean there are more deaths than there otherwise would have been. Perhaps, then, what counts as a good result is the amount of life that the......

Words: 531 - Pages: 3

Similarities Between Consequentialism and Non Consequentialism

...INTRODUCTION In ethics, consequentialism is explain that an action should be judged right or wrong on the basis of their consequences. Consequentialism theory is also known teleological moral theories. Which teleological word is from Greek ” Telos”,means “end” and ” logos” means “science”. This theory of morality derives duty or moral obligation from what is good or desirable as an end to be achieved. This general approach can be applied at different levels to different normative properties of different kinds of things, but the most prominent example is consequentialism about the moral rightness of acts, which holds that whether an act is morally right depends only on the consequences of that act or of something related to that act, such as the motive behind the act or a general rule requiring acts of the same kind. ( www. plato.stanford.edu) Consequentialist, have two major theories that is ethical egoism and utilitarianism. Both these theories agree that human beings ought to behave in ways that will bring about good consequences. They differ, however, in that they disagree on who should benefit from these consequences. The ethical egoist essentially says that human beings ought to act in the interest of all concerned. ( Jacques P. Thiroux , Keith W. Krasemann) The rough idea behind ethical egoism is that the right thing to do is to look out for own self-interest. That’s mean we are morally required only to make ourselves as happy as possible and......

Words: 1570 - Pages: 7

Ethics

...Ethics Essay As we all grow up we are taught a set of values that affect everyday life, but as we get older those values change. Ethical and moral values are different for everyone and every business, and those values may impact who we work for or what and who we buy from. Before we can truly understand ethics and morality, we must first examine the different theories and how they affect our decisions. Ethical Theories The first theory we will examine is consequentialism. Rosalind Hursthouse defines consequentialism as, “an action is right if it promotes the best consequences and the best consequences are those in which happiness is maximized” ("Trinity University", 2001). There are two types of consequentialism; ethical egoism and utilitarianism. The first benefits only the individual performing an action and the later benefits everyone. The next theory we will define is deontology. Deontological theories hold that some acts are always wrong, even if the act leads to an admirable outcome. Actions in deontology are always judged independently of their outcome ("Seven Pillars Institute", 2014). Deontology is duty focused and only concerned with the action and not a consequence. An action is considered moral if it is in accordance with the duties and obligations. Lastly, we will look at the virtue theory. Virtue theory is an approach that deemphasizes rules, consequences and particular acts and places the focus on the kind of person who is...

Words: 492 - Pages: 2

Acc 260 Week 4 Critiquing Philosophical Approaches to Ethical Decision Making

...philosophical approaches we will discuss if the course of action is the most ethical, the best reasons for making the choices, and the reasons for believing this alternative is ethical. Consequentialism is the intent to maximize the usefulness of a decision. For this the relevance of this act depends on its consequences. For this approach it is essential to have a good ethical decisions and perception of it. With this it is important for students to analyze a decision in how the harmful and/or the benefits. This many philosophers’ debate ht consequences should count Deontology is different because it focuses on the obligation or duty in motivating the decision or the actions of the consequences. This depends on the respect, rights, and fairness. This approach brings up issues related to duty, rights, moral standards, and the principles. Virtue ethics approach focus on the integrity of the individuals and the moral of the community. In order to identify the issues of the ethical actions this act centers instead of agent centered. With this professional community will help to identify ethical issues and the guidelines. There is a debate over whether the community focuses on interest. In other words individuals are excellence being intellectual, morals, and achievements. Scenario 1 Consequentialism choice is that the mayor would choose in favor of economic prosperity. Looking at the aspect letting new development would benefit the town and everyone in it. This choice would......

Words: 6500 - Pages: 26

Miss

...individual. This is as opposed to acting with a preoccupation with outcomes (as seen in consequentialism). Therefore an inherent weakness with this approach is that perceived acts which are ‘good’ may not actually achieve the best outcomes. Moral obligations appear arbitrary or inexplicable except by reference to duty. In reality our decision making is influenced by many factors and it is indeed questionable whether duty is as good as motive. CONSEQUENTIALISM: STRENGTHS Consequentialism is the view that morality is all about producing the right kinds of overall consequences. Here the phrase “overall consequences” of an action means everything the action brings about, including the action itself. It is a flexible approach with many variations and has an advantage that maximises value to get the best value for money. WEAKNESSES Doing whatever promotes the best consequences may violate individuals’ interests and rights. It is an impersonal theory concerned more with the aggregative question of “how much” of some good there should be than with the distributive question of “who” should have it. Consequentialism only judges actions after they have already been performed and the results are in, rather than as a means of dictating what the right action is that a person ought to perform CONSEQUENTIALISM and DEONTOLOGY are the two ethical theories most frequently used to......

Words: 611 - Pages: 3

Consequentialism and Utilitarianism

...Consequentialism and Utilitarianism The struggle between intrinsic and instrumental value seems to be eonian, and even though they do have very different meanings, people sometimes find it very difficult to distinguish between them. If something is said to encompass intrinsic value, it means that it is good or bad in itself, without having any reference to who it is good/bad for, or what it is good/bad at – most references define it as “just being good in itself”; a very popular example of this would be the very human life, and how human lives are valuable just because they are human, not because of what they can do because they are human. Several people, in contrast, would argue that human beings, can be of instrumental value, meaning that something is good because it can provide “a means to an end” – leading to the conclusion that objects have value because WE give them value. Is it logical to say that we give money instrumental value as it is a means of obtaining something such as happiness, which is of intrinsic value? But then, wouldn’t it logically follow that we give objects instrumental value because they are a means of obtaining something of intrinsic value? The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy defines consequentialism as “Consequentialism, as its name suggests, is the view that normative properties depend only on consequences.” It is a basic principle which suggests that the morality of an action is determined by its overall consequences. Its strength......

Words: 589 - Pages: 3

Ethics in Medicine

...tremendously with their illness can benefit and not suffer anymore isn’t the physician helping them? Or is the physician allowing a person to take the easy way out instead of playing the hand they were dealt until the end? I view beneficence to be all about perspective. In life perspective is truth and if you feel that you are doing what is right regardless of what others think, shouldn’t you do it? The hard part is that perspective is looking at an event before it happens, it’s the crystal ball, and you think it tells you the future. No matter how accurate your moral compass may be in guiding you into that future the past is always 20/20. The next moral principle is consequentialism. “Consequentialism means whether to act is morally right only depends on the consequences” (2). To me consequentialism is to act without a moral compass. It’s to look at the benefit without seeing the harm. I feel that most if not all wars started and were fought with this principle in mind. For example a doctor chose to save six patients lives and sacrifice one, even though he could have saved the one. The consequence of not killing that one patient would mean that six people would die and therefore he would be morally correct in killing that one patient. Another example of this would be if two people walk into an emergency department both with stab wounds. Patient one is young, tall, fit, and stabbed in the hand. Patient two is middle aged, short, fat, and stabbed in the lung. ......

Words: 1493 - Pages: 6

Moral Philosophy Term Paper

...Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative, and Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism are some of the Normative Ethics theories. In this study, we will discuss about Utilitarianism. With the objectives of: simplifying a complicated Philosophical theory for students, and understanding deeply the principles of Utilitarianism. Discussion Utilitarianism is mainly characterized by two elements: happiness and consequentialism. Utilitarian happiness is the biggest happiness which (supposedly) every human being looks for. In utilitarianism everything useful to happiness is good. Therefore, the name of the doctrine is utilitarianism, based on the principle of utility. Utility is found in everything which contributes to the happiness of every rational being. The criterion of good and evil is balanced between individual's happiness and the happiness of the community, "each counting in an equal way" (Bentham, Introduction in the principles of morality and legislation). Consequentialism in utilitarianism is in the fact that an action must be judged for its consequences on the happiness of the largest number. That is: my search for happiness stops when it decreases the happiness of another individual or the happiness of the largest number, of the society or the community. [1] Utilitarianism, therefore, is the theory that says what is good is what makes the world as happy as possible. More precisely, classical utilitarianism is......

Words: 845 - Pages: 4

Business Morality

...business? For most it seems that upper managements set forth the standards that the business holds as their ethics of practice. This can vary greatly from company to company dependent on the individual group’s views. Some businesses may operate on a consequentialist’s belief system. Consequentialism is the theory that the value and especially the moral value of an act should be judged by the value of its consequences (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Consequentialists believe that the action that provides the most positive outcome for the most people is the right action (Mohn, 2015). Others may have more of a deontological belief. Deontological ethics, or duty-based ethics, are the beliefs that people’s actions are based on rules about right and wrong. People with deontological ethics do not believe that people should weigh the outcome of their actions when they make decisions; instead, they should do what is right, no matter the consequence (Mohn, 2015). While both belief systems are normative ethical beliefs, the differences come down to the consequences of the outcomes. Utilitarianism, the belief that an action is morally right if the overall good is greater than the overall bad, is a type of consequentialism. Notable philosophers who held this belief were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill (Board, 2015). The problems that arise with this belief are that it implies that it can sometimes be morally right to harm people if the outcome is positive and beneficial to even more......

Words: 966 - Pages: 4

Assn1

...As a result, it seems deontology is not a good way of finding a passable solution to this problem at all. It would serve Charles well to use another decision making method. Thirdly, consequentialism may come into play in Charles’ decisions. Consequentialism is defined as a decision making process where the consequences or outcomes of the decisions matter most. As a result, this method puts much emphasis on objective results rather than subjective reasons behind the decisions. Thus, consequentialism often chooses the method that garners the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. When we consider the options available to Charles in this situation, it becomes obvious that the solution that benefits the greatest amount of people directly would be if Charles took the financial burden upon himself and let his workers’ wages remain the same. This is despite choosing the option that poses the most harm to his own being. Unfortunately, the criticism of consequentialism is painfully obvious in this example. As it is often said, consequentialism is very demanding upon the individual, many times too much so. In this case, Charles may be hard pressed to keep his own well-being if he decides to place the needs of the many above his own needs. However, if he chooses to follow consequentialism strictly, then it will lead him to choosing to keep wages the same as before. Finally, rights-based decision making must also be considered for this situation. In this method, the......

Words: 1125 - Pages: 5

Ethical Decision Making

...are: consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Consequentialism is the view that the value of actions is derived solely from the value of its consequences. In accounting, this approach is used to analyze which decision is most ethical based on the harms and benefits to the stakeholders; basically, it is the decision that does the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. In short, consequentialism is the decision is ethical if the positive outcome is greater than the negative outcome. Deontology is the ethical theory that is concerned with duties and rights. Whereas consequentialism is concerned with actions consequences, deontology is concerned with the obligation or duty motivating the decision (Brooks, 2007, p. 330). Decisions are based around moral standards, rights, fairness, and principles. Virtue ethics seems to lie somewhere between consequentialism and deontology; its primary concern is with traits of character that are morally right. Virtue ethics focuses on an individual’s integrity and character in relation to the moral community, such as professional communities (Brooks, 2007, p. 332). Scenario 1 The consequentialism approach is in favor of economic prosperity; the most favorable consequence for the greatest amount of people. This approach would demolish the senior citizens nursing home and recreation center, displacing the elderly citizens in favor of the developer’s plans for a mall and resort. In this case, the consequentialism......

Words: 1045 - Pages: 5

Consequentialism or Justice

...Consequentialism or Justice An important role in defining justice is the concept of right. Hooker (2011), " A consequentialist theory that presupposes both that justice is constituted by such-and-such and that justice is one of the things to be promoted does not explain why the components of justice are important.” (para. 12). This paper is a reflection of Team’s D thoughts about Chapter 5, “Consequentialism or Justice.” The consequentialism theory is a decision of an individual who will cause a greater good for all. An individual should take the complete relating information and consider every possible option that will provide a decision that will provide every person with greater good. The decision should not affect just one person, or a small group, but each client. At a sleepover party, a rule of not playing with fire should not be set for just one child. The rule should be set for every child in the house because fire is harmful. Every child will benefit from the rule. Distributive justice is the assistance that every human has an equal chance. It provides an ability to help make sure every person has goods equal to others, for the greater good. The goods are not meant to be materialistic, they are meant to be for safety and health for healthy living. The theory intersects with Tamara’s personal value because where Tamara lives, she sees a community that lives by social justice. Many in the neighborhood make informal contracts among each other and use......

Words: 1517 - Pages: 7