Utilitarianism Consequentialism

Introduction
Utilitarianism (Thrift Edition)   — Kotchian values consequences (protection of jobs and investment in company) over
     potential violation of duty (responsibilities of government officials to uphold the law)
   — Moral dilemma:  Consequences (teleological theory) vs. Duty (deontological theory)
   — Utilitarianism focuses more on the consequences of an action
  ∙  Two Types of Ethical Theories
   — Utilitarianism vs. Kantian ethics (duty) vs. Virtue (i.e., Aristotle – not covered in the
       reading)
   — Teleological:  ends over means (judged by maximum balance of good over bad)
       ∙∙ Strengths:  in accord with most moral reasoning (makes sense), precise and
         objective method
       ∙∙ Weaknesses:  ignores promises and duties, does not take into consideration rights,
          justice, and obligations (i.e., free speech might do more harm, yet is a basic right)
   — Deontological:  actions are analyzed according to moral rules (duties)
       ∙∙ Strengths:  good when consequences are irrelevant (e.g., contracts, family
          obligations), examines motives (e.g., giving to charity for tax reasons or for
          compassion)      
       ∙∙ Weaknesses: rules seem arbitrary at times and potentially ethnocentric, no clear-
          cut priority among rules
∙  Classic Utilitarianism
   — Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill –> created practical guide in English reform
      movement
Utilitarianism and Other Essays  — Bentham: “hedonistic calculation” means the sum of pleasure minus pain for all
     individuals affected by an action (> 0 = good, < 0 = evil) – critics argue is pleasure a
     sufficient measure of human happiness?
 — Mill:  injects overall happiness into calculation rather than just pleasure (quality
    besides quantity)

∙  The Forms of Utilitarianism
   — Classic (Act) Utilitarianism:  AN ACTION IS RIGHT IF AND ONLY IF IT
      PRODUCES THE GREATEST BALANCE OF PLEASURE OVER PAIN FOR
      EVERYBODY
      Key Features:  consequentialism (consequences), hedonism (pleasure), maximalism
      (greatest net balance between pleasure and pain), universalism (everybody included in the
     calculation)
  — Act Utilitarianism:  AN ACTION IS RIGHT IF AND ONLY IF IT PRODUCES THE
     GREATEST BALANCE OF PLEASURE OVER PAIN FOR EVERYBODY
vs.
  — Rule Utilitarianism: AN ACTION IS RIGHT IF AND ONLY IF IT CONFORMS TO A
     SET OF RULES THE GENERAL ACCEPTANCE OF WHICH WOULD PRODUCE
    THE GREATEST BALANCE OF PLEASURE OVER PAIN FOR EVERYONE
Cost Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice (3rd Edition)∙  Problems with Calculating Utility
  
— Difficulty in calculating how much, in identifying alternative courses, and
       accounting for differing preferences among different people
  — Lockheed did not account for the pain of other companies and might have been
      wrong under the utilitarian calculation
  — Cost-Benefit Analysis (used to select means and ends) vs. Cost Effective Analysis
    
(predetermined ends with least costly means)
  — Problems with CBA: difficult to put monetary value on non-market items, often
     understates value (ignores opportunity costs)
  — One advantage of utilitarianism is its transparency since any ethics theory is value-
     laden