e-learningsite.com

free essays
Free essays

Utilitarianism in a Time of Crisis

UTILITARIANISM 4

Utilitarianismin a Time of Crisis

Utilitarianismin a Time of Crisis

Thereappearsto be a reasonablegroundon which utilitarianreasoningis applicable,apt,andshould be relied upon to offersolutions.In timesof crisis,suchas thatof flight93,thereseemsto be justificationforthe applicationof utilitarianreasoning.Utilitarian reasoningdeterminesthemostsuitable actionandwhich willmaximize happinessandminimizesufferingorpain(West, 2004). After thethree jetswerehijackedby terroristsandtwo crashedon thetwintowerswith devastatingoutcomes,itwasapparentthatitwasjusta matterof timebefore flight93, alreadyconfirmedto be under theterrorist control,would comecrashingon theone of theAmerican symbolsof supremacy.

Basedon thepreceptsof utilitarian, shootingtheplanedownwouldhavebeentherightdecisionbecausefewerliveswould have beenlostthan iftheplanecrashed.Thehighlossof lifeas a resultof thecrashof thetwo planeson thetradecenteris enoughevidencethatifthoseterroristswereallowedto crashtheplanein one of theprimebuildingin citycentersthecarnagewould be colossal.Utilitarians striveto minimizesufferingandpainandas suchaverting a similarincidencelike thatof thethree precedingflightswould be appropriateandjustifiable.

Themoralrightof actiondepends on theresultof theactions.An actionisrightif itresultsto thebestoutcomeforeveryone,among theavailableoptions,evenifin theprocessafew people’shappiness willbe sacrificedorforcedto gothrough some formof suffering(Thomson,2002). In thecaseof flight93 theoptionswerelimited,eitherallowtheplaneto crashkillpassengersandciviliansat thecrashsiteorshoottheplanedown to avertthe highcarnage.Luckilyforflight93, there wasanotheroptionas thepassengersganged up to tryandregaincontrol.In theend,theresultwasidenticalto thatwhich would haveoccurrediftheplanewereshotdownU.S. Armed Forces.

Intimesof crisisutilitarian reasoningmay offersolutionsthat may reducetheextentof suffering,whiletryingto maximize happiness(Eggleston&amp Miller, 2014). Nosystemof ethicsoblige thattheexclusivemotiveof our actionsshould be afeelingof duty,butratheractionsthat shall resultto benefitto thewholeworld.Utilitarian arguethat,since allmoralandethicalvaluesare relativeto individuals’choice,no universally moralprinciplecan holdforallmankind(Thomson, 2002). Assuchthemotivationto carryout anactionshould be based on theconsequencesexpected.In timesof crisisviolatingmoralprinciplessometimes,can leadto morehappinessorlowersufferingthan followingtherule.Individualsare,therefore, obligatedto violatetherule(Eggleston&amp Miller, 2014). However,thisis thereasoningthat is onlyapplicableduring a timeof crisis.Utilitarianclaimthata humanbeingshould followmoralruleseveniftheythinkthatviolatingtheruleswillresultto betterresults,becausefollowingthemoralrulesyieldsmorehappinessto thesociety.Theconsequenceof an actionis thepremiseupon which theutilitarianreasoningishedged.Utilitarianism is,therefore, acceptablein timesof crisissuchas thehijacking of flight93, as itminimizesthepainandsufferingof alarge number of peopleandmaximizes theoverall wellbeing.

References

Eggleston,B.,and Miller, D.( 2014). The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism.Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

Thomson,A. (2002). Critical Reasoning in Ethics: A practical Introduction.London. Routledge Pub.

West,H. R. (2004). An introduction to Mill`s utilitarian ethics.:Cambridge Univ. Press