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What do you understand by utilitarianism? Illustrate with examples the grounds on which it has been criticized.

Topic : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6. What do you understand by utilitarianism? Illustrate with examples the grounds on which it has been criticized. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the concept of Utilitarianism.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the concept of Utilitarianism in detail and bring out its criticism with suitable examples.

Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Utilitarianism is fundamentally driven by the principle of utility i.e. that action is morally right which produces the best overall consequences with regard to the utility or welfare of all the affected parties.

Body:

Discuss the objectives of the theory in detail; Utilitarian theories propound “greatest happiness of the greatest number”.

Comment upon the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and Henry Sidgwick who are some utilitarianism theorists.

Then move onto discuss the objections to Utilitarian theory such as – Utilitarian theories might require us to do morally problematic or doubtful things in order to bring about a good result, In a utilitarian society, people’s behaviour would lack the kind of predictability and consistency that is required to sustain trust and social stability.

Suggest way out to such situations.

Conclusion:

Conclude that thus, there are various concerns associated with utilitarian ethics and it cannot be the sole guiding light for human actions, societal goals and government’s programmes.