Saturday, May 13, 2006

What is so good about utilitarianism?

It seems to me utilitarianism is somewhat overrated; I also find, that it appears to be connected to equality a bit too haphazardly. As far as I can see it doesn’t necessarily lead to equality as in levelling, whatever the resources are. I don’t understand what is supposed to happen to the poor sods that are left over when the “greatest number” has received “the greatest good”. Does utilitarianism promote happiness for the majorities, on the expense of the happiness of the minorities? Is it so, that if happiness is to be maximised, people that would be able to gain more happiness out of certain recourses, such as money, should have precedence to it, as the happiness would be maximised. As far as I can gather utilitarian philosophy would mean that it would be unreasonable to spend money on a small group of incurable people to achieve slight improvement, if this money could be used to cure loads of people with minor ailments. This seems to rhyme badly with standard ethics. It seems to me utilitarianism is a raw deal what concerns minorities, the very poor, the non intellectual and the incurably sick. It also seems to me that utilitarianism doesn’t take the individual into account, and that it even sanctions human sacrifice, when this would contribute to the overall combined benefit. Worst of all it seems to me to go beyond the principal of the sanctity of human life. Death penalty proponents are probably very often utilitarian, come to think of it. This is getting more and more barbaric! Considering utilitarianism is such an overall accepted philosophy, I now come to the conclusion that I probably have misunderstood it all.

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