Moral theories are meant to help us figure out what actions are right vs what actions are wrong. My ethical theory is based off of Consequentialism. Consequentialism says that an action is morally required just because it produces the best overall results.
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Consequentialism is not just a simply single theory but it is based off of several theories that all share the same agreement that results are what matter in ethics. The most prominent version of consequentialism is Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the only thing that is intrinsically valuable. Faring poorly is the only thing that is intrinsically bad. The view of ultariatinism therefor states that an action is morally required just because it does more to improve overall well being than any other action you could have done in the circumstances. According to this acts are right because they maximize the overall amount of wellbeing in the world. We as a society, should be required to create the greatest good for the greatest number.
We are duty bound to maximize well being. John Stuart Mill, a fellow Utilitarianism summarized the outlook by saying that it required us to create the greatest good for the greatest number. This however, was overlooking an important notion. Mill was a hedonist who believed that only happiness was intrinsically valuable and only misery was intrinsically bad. There are several misunderstandings to this theory based on the principle of their being numbers that quantify the idea.
The first misunderstanding in choosing among acts that benefit people, we must benefit the greatest number of people. This is rejected by Mill. If we combine utilitarianism and hedonism, we get the ultimate moral principle that we should produce the greatest overall balance of happiness over misery, The first misunderstanding of this is that in choosing among acts that benefit people, we must benefit the greatest number of people. Mill rejects this. The reason being the act we choose to do may benefit the majority of people to a very small extent however, they benefit to the minority may be very large. For example, let’s say we have a legislature has money left over from the year. They can spend the money and give 90 percent of citizens a 60 dollar gas coupon. The other option they can choose to use this money for would be trying to prevent homelessness and starvation among the poorest 10 percent of people. In many scenarios we of course would argue that giving money to the poor would be better. Even though the benefits favor less people. This is because it would yield more goodness. The second misunderstanding is that we must always choose that actions that creates the greatest amount of happiness.
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