"Universalist and impartialist" about Utilitarianism

"Universalist and impartialist" about Utilitarianism Essay example
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Explain what each of these terms means and how it applies to utilitarianism. Then, take a position as to whether each of these features is an advantage or disadvantage to Utilitarianism as an ethical theory.


The scholarly consensus as of date is that Utilitarianism is a partial system of morality and is somewhat inadequate on account of its authors’ reluctance to front up to complexities of ethics. Utilitarianism asserts that 'It is morally good to act for the general happiness.' As this assessment is taken at face value by most, the salient critical question is ‘What is it that is morally not good,  which stands in opposition to this?’ In answering this question proponents say, ‘acting for unhappiness’. (Grote 123) Utilitarian moral philosophy thus has for its subject the ascertaining of what happiness is, which is placed in polar opposition to unhappiness. Having found what constitutes happiness, the philosophy strives to device methods to achieve that end. But real life experiences and events are not strictly broken into these clear-cut dichotomies and therein lie the major objection to Utilitarianism’s veracity as a ethical theory. The following passages will explain the two central concepts of ‘impartiality’ and ‘universality’ and identify their shortcomings for application in practical ethics. The founding texts of Utilitarianism think of it as inherently ethical. ...
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