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Discussion Paper on Utilitarian Theory and Duty Oriented Theory - Essay Example

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Discussion Paper on Utilitarian Theory and Duty Oriented Theory

This rule is applied directly to a selection of particular actions under particular events (Mill). This implies that there are no fixed principles that can be established before the occurrence of any specific event, and that the particular action that works for the greater benefit of society should be the preferred method. Hence the judgment on what constitutes the ‘greater good’ is of extreme importance when following act utilitarianism. There can be counter arguments to the aforementioned notion because, while the majority’s verdict may satisfy everyone in the short run, it may have negative implications for everyone in the long run. This raises concerns over the guaranteed presence of someone shrewd enough to judge what constitutes the greater good of the society. Rule Utilitarianism:- Rule utilitarianism states that it is our duty to abide by rules designed for the greater total good and produce consequences better than those produced by any other rules. This doctrine is applied to a selection of a set of rules which are then used to determine what to do in particular situations. The primary argument of rule utilitarianism is that there should be pre established rules that define what constitutes the greater good. ...
Duty Oriented Theories: Duty oriented theories fall under the category of nonconsequentalists theories. Nonconsequentalists believe that there can be rules to guide moral judgments independent of consequences. The underlying argument of these theories is that the means justify the ends rather than the other way round and if the moral conduct undertaken to achieve an acceptable consequence is incorrect than the entire act is incorrect. There are several theories that follow this school of thought. The divine command theory suggests that moral conduct is judged on the basis of the level of fulfillment of rules laid down by a higher authority. This is an extreme end of the nonconsequentalists theories that seeks to abandon control completely. Emanuel Kant was one of the key contributors to duty oriented ethics. Kant’s theory stems from his arguments about misconceptions about the purpose of life and what makes one happy. He argues that if the purpose of life was to achieve happiness, we shall all seek gratification and pleasure and believe that it shall lead to happiness. But happiness is not within out power to achieve, and is at times, a matter of luck. He also suggests that if we are to avoid skepticism, our ethics should be rational, unconditional and universal. Kant believes that it is not important that the consequences be of our choice, but the thinking behind our choices. He argues that the only one kind of thing that is inherently good is good will. Kant proposed a categorical imperative that shall guide our moral behavior. The categorical imperative argues that One should act on only those maxims (rules of action) ...Show more


The ethical doctrine of utilitarianism hinges on the notion that the greater total good should be the consequence of our actions regardless of the route taken to achieve it. It is one of the strongest consequentialist theories. One of the key contributors to this theory was John Stuart Mill…
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Discussion Paper on Utilitarian Theory and Duty Oriented Theory
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