Utilitarianism as an ethical theory

Utilitarianism as an ethical theory is supposed to guide people in deciding what is wrong and what is morally right. As an ethical theory, it is concerned with the integrity of an individual in the work place. It determines whether corruption is good when it bears the expected results or it is wrong because it breaks the rules of the game. Utilitarianism is as complicated as an ethical theory as the definition is. The two types of utilitarianism are conflicting and opposite of each other. One is for total integrity while the other is for integrity of convenience (Prevos).

Act utilitarianism the type of action that is graded by the results it produces. It is an action that is expected to produce results that give the same satisfaction as another action that would have been undertaken at the same time. Act utilitarianism is the event where an individual is supposed to achieve the same level of happiness doing something of their choice. The act utilitarianism is supposed to work for the greater good. Little bending of rules does not matter as long as nobody is hurt in the process. This theory is more practical but may condone unethical behavior in the process (Saharlina). People will do little wrongs in order to satisfy their happiness as long as it does not stand in the way of another’s happiness.

Rule utilitarianism is the type of utilitarianism is of the idea that one should do whatever will result in the greater good of the people as per the rules concerned. The utilitarianism conforming to the rules does not believe in cutting corners to achieve an objective as long as the right method achieves the results benefiting the masses. The theory depends on the fact that following rules may actually make everyone involved happy (Dwarren). It banks on following rules to avoid confrontation with other people. Rule utilitarianism expects that everyone involved will do right and achieve happiness by so doing.

The ethical theories around utilitarianism like act utilitarianism can lead to unethical actions. For instance; where the individual acting does something wrong and uses the result to benefit another larger group, it is unethical. However, as per the act utilitarianism, the act is right because it has benefited others positively. An individual could rob a bank and use the money to settle fees for the homeless children. In this case, according to the individual, the good outweighs the wrong doing. Ethically, it is wrong. The theory is, therefore, not an air tight ethical theory.

The rule utilitarianism ethical theory is of the opinion that rules should be followed regardless of the effects they will have on people. Rule utilitarianism is a rigid ethical theory. It figures that people should just do right regardless of what the repercussions of their adherence to the rules. It is also important to note that the rule utilitarianism is only rigid but not an air tight ethical theory. A rule utilitarianism follower will follow rules even when it hurts other people. It the case where such an individual is a nurse and an emergency patient is brought in, then she will opt to follow the normal admission procedures for other outpatients to the letter. This may result in the loss of life of the patient and the ethical perspective of the nurse has no meaning.

Works Cited

Dwarren. Act vs. Rule Utilitarianism. n.d. Article. 25 April 2017.

Prevos, Peter. Philosophical Ethics: Act and Rule Utilitarianism. 1 November 2004. Article. 25 April 2017.

Saharlina, Inas. Examples of Act Utilitarianism. 21 December 2016. Article. 25 April 2017.

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