Rule utilitarianism states that the morally right action is the one that is in accordance with a moral rule whose general observance would create the most happiness. [2], Act utilitarianism is often contrasted with a different theory called rule utilitarianism. By the same token, act utilitarianism entails that the moral value of 0 In the famous American television medical drama, Dr. House prefers to take into account specific circumstances, therefore he thinks rather as utilitarian of the act. 572 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/ID[<285153C317FC1A4E8AEFA46CD2E2962E>]/Index[550 36]/Info 549 0 R/Length 107/Prev 251809/Root 551 0 R/Size 586/Type/XRef/W[1 3 1]>>stream For example, in I. Robotthe supercomputer V.I.K.I uses her massive database to calculate that human beings prefer safety over freedom, and therefore concludes that the most moral course of action is for her to imprison all th… The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a very prominent example of the philosophy of ‘Utilitarianism’. %%EOF 550 0 obj <> endobj According to act utilitarianism, then, the right thing to do tomorrow is to go out and do charity work; it is wrong to stay home and watch television all day. Critics also cite more significant problems, such as the fact that act utilitarianism seems to imply that specific acts of torture or enslavement would be morally permissible if they produced enough happiness. To understand how act utilitarianism works, compare the consequences of watching television all day tomorrow to the consequences of doing charity work tomorrow. Movie villains often have some sort of diabolical utilitarian reasoning for what they do. Let’s remember the situation in the episode “Children and water in the bath”. Critics sometimes cite such prohibitions on leisure activities as a problem for act utilitarianism. l� �(A�] $�(�30K]�"@, �c`�ɢ�$�x�ѓ���>�wFƻ��1�aT`8��>�5����. Rule utilitarianism is sometimes thought to avoid the problems associated with act utilitarianism. Let’s consider the specific examples. In the example above, the general rule would be: ‘share your wealth’. [3], https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Act_utilitarianism&oldid=931680658, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 December 2019, at 13:35. For example, the fact that an act is a crime, or results from a vicious character trait, does not make it wrong; moreover, such a fact does not detract from its moral value at all, according to act utilitarianism. This means that he believed people would actively seek out pleasure and avoid pain, if given the opportunity. endstream endobj startxref Act utilitarianism is based on the principle of utility, which is the basis of all utilitarian theories and is best summed up in Bentham's well-known phrase, "the greatest happiness for the greatest number". It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as determine what we shall do." Bentham's utilitarianism is a hedonistic theory and starts with the premise that people are in their very nature hedonistic. h�bbd```b``a��@$�9�d��L% ��,��N�ۂ�P09 LZ�I}0�V��U&�A䢻@�1�,":�����[email protected]����"�?í� �O One could produce more overall happiness in the world by doing charity work tomorrow than by watching television all day tomorrow. D Act utilitarianism is a utilitarian theory of ethics which states that a person's act is morally right if and only if it produces the best possible results in that specific situation. overall well-being matters to the moral value of an act. The idea of utilitarianism is tightly intertwined with the philosophy of consequentialism. Act utilitarianism evaluates an act by its actual consequences whereas rule utilitarianism evaluates an action by the consequences of its general or universal practice (by all other persons, and perhaps into the future and past as well). One could produce more overall happiness in the world by doing charity work tomorrow than by watching television all day tomorrow. An example of act utilitarianism could be on company vehicle giving a lift to a person in remote places despite it being restricted to only the driver and its employees, but with known consequences those in charge of the vehicle at that time choose to forgo the rule because its viewed as a means of help.