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The Ethical Dilemma of Maximizing Pleasure. Utilitarianism Dilemma.
Pages 4 (1004 words)
This past week, I was facing a dilemma of whether I should finish my homework or whether I should procrastinate and attend Nuit Blanche. This dilemma made me consider which activity provided me more pleasure and I used this principle of maximizing pleasure to justify my decision.
My predicament provides quite a simplified and inaccurate version of John Stuart Mill’s principle of utility which states that actions promoting happiness or pleasure are considered to be correct whereas actions promoting unhappiness or pain are considered to be wrong (John Stuart Mill 330). According to Mill’s principle, my choice of going to Nuit Blanche instead of studying was the right one as I was able to maximize my pleasure. But, this situation is too simplistic and does not provide a moral argument for Mill’s principle. Let us consider the following thought experiment where a trolley is out of control and it is approaching five people who cannot escape the impact. Fortunately, you are next to a switch which could change the path of the train and save the five people. But, the other track is under construction and if you were to flip the switch, you would kill one construction worker. In this situation, Mill’s principle of utility would argue that saving five people would result in maximizing the most happiness or pleasure and therefore it would be morally justified to kill the construction worker. Thus, the central idea of Mill’s principle states that the morality of an action is contingent upon its consequence. ...
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