Genetically Modifying Utilitarianism

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Abstract

This paper presents a refreshing look at Utilitarianism and furthermore ties the ideas of utilitarianism to the process of Eugenics. Using John Mills ideology, Utilitarianism and Eugenics are first evaluated as separate entities. Utilitarianism is focused around the ideas of right and wrong and their application to decision making.

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The ultimate goal of this view is the make the most amount of people happy. Eugenics and Genetic engineering is the study and process of creating a genetic profile of an unborn child and then taking a part of their DNA and replacing it with “better” DNA. After evaluated separately, Utilitarianism is applied to Eugenics, specifically looking at the decision-making process for genetically manipulating a child. The results of this comparison show that Eugenics is accepted in utilitarianism conditionally. This application of Utilitarianism will help establish an understanding of Mills’ philosophical views and will help other students better understand the utilitarianism decision process in the future.

Background

Utilitarianism was a theory first proposed by Jeremy Bentham and then was further adopted by John Stewart Mill. Mill was alive from May 20, 1806, through May 8, 1873. He was not only a philosopher but a political economist. He was born and flourished during a time of great scientific enlightenment and social expansion; There was a high demand for democracy as well as answers to life’s big questions.

Utilitarianism, a form of consequentialism, is a theory formed around the ideas about right and wrong actions. According to John Mill, the morally best action is the one that creates the most amount of happiness for the most amount of people. This idea is known as the rule of utility. Mill also taught his audience that the only two absolutes in life are pleasure and pain. These two traits are what govern mans life.

Utilitarianism has many types associated with it. The main types of utilitarianism are negative, act, rule and preference. Negative utilitarianism requires the promotion of the least amount of harm. Another way of looking at this is to prevent the greatest amount of harm for the most amount of people. The issue that this view of utilitarianism looks at is that there are many more ways to do good than harm. The greatest amount of harm has many more consequences than the greatest amount of good.

Act utilitarianism is centered around the idea that an individual should pursue the act that leads to the most amount of happiness. Rule utilitarianism is similar to act utilitarianism in the fact that the best rule to follow is the one that would create the most amount of happiness. According to this idea, rules should be looked at as guidelines. These guidelines should only be followed in situations where the consequences are difficult,

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