PHIL American Military University Wk 7 Deontology & Utilitarianism Theories Responses
Respond to these responses.
1.As individuals search for the foundation of goodness, there are two views that seem to assess the morality of an act: Deontology and Utilitarianism. Deontological ethics, as observed by Kant, believes that doing the right thing means to follow proper rules of behavior, promoting fairness and equality, but not taking into consequences of those actions into consideration. Murder, theft, and lying are absolutely prohibited in Kant’s eyes, even in cases where the action would increase utility. In contrast, Utilitarianism philosophers such as Bentham & Mill argued that a course of action should be focused on the consequences and considering the most positive outcome by maximizing utility.
Of the two, consequences and intentions, I find both philosophies to be effective on a case-by-case scenario. When it comes to assessing the morality of actions, it is important to consider the consequences. For example: A father take his son to the emergency room and finds out his son is sick and is in critical condition and needs an expensive surgery. The father does not have enough money needed for the surgery and decides to go to a bank and requests for a personal loan and lies to the loan officer, that he will be investing in a new business. The father receives the loan, goes to the hospital, pays for the surgery, and saves his sons life (Guzman, 2016). As you can see by this example, deontology has a disadvantage. There is no room for gray areas and are only based on absolutes. From a deontology perspective, the father lied to get what he wanted to save his son’s life; therefore, he went against the Kantian Deontology. If the father decided to not lie, he could work extra shifts at work, or beg for money, and by the time he has raised enough money, his son could have not survived. From a utilitarianism perspective, the father did the right thing, because of the fathers life, his son was saved. When you look at both consequence and intentions, no one really pays attention to intentions, but only the end result. 2.in his work, The Principles of Morals and Legislation,Bentham describes the relationship between man and nature as nature being the sovereign and subjecting mankind to pain and pleasure. The statement of whether or not someone or something can suffer is uniquely tied to this relationship. Suffering is uniquely linked to both pleasure and pain. To be under the condition of suffering is to feel and experience pain through a variety of mechanisms. Thus if we pose the question “Can they suffer?”, where ‘They’ is the object in question and ‘to suffer’ is linked to pain then the Utilitarian approach to the morality of the act can be assessed from this perspective.
Mr. Bentham’s direction regarding the ‘ability to suffer’ is a reasonable measure as to whether or not the action directed upon the subject was substantial enough to cause pain. The Utilitarian Calculus approach yields a mathematical approach to give a more logical answer to the overall pain or pleasure a subject endures as a result of the directed action. Using this approach to a subjects ‘ability to suffer’ could point an individual in a particular direction and assist in determining if the action was in fact moral.
If we took these approaches seriously to the treatment of non-human animals, then a greater care and respect for them would be observed. Not every instance of raising cattle, or chickens, for food is an example of mistreatment. And every instance of raising livestock would have to be examined and given its day in Bentham’s philosophical court. Which would mean that when doing the most good for the most amount of people would have to be brought up again. And one could pose the question, “If we slaughter 100 cows and 100 chickens and we are able to save approximately 1000 people from starving, is this a moral act?” This question and others are valid to ask when assessing the morality of raising livestock for food.
Mr. Bentham’s work on the Principles of Morals and Legislation can point us in the right directions when we are assessing actions with respect to a public good perspective. Assessing the overall pain vs pleasure a subject, group of subjects, receives can give us necessary information. The Utilitarian Calculus will yield a mathematical perspective to the conversation. Applying these principles to a societal question, “How do we treat animals?” can enlighten us as to where we should look to improve our overall society to benefit not just ourselves, but other forms of life that inhabit the earth with us.