Rule Utilitarian Ethics and Hurricane Katrina - Essay Example

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This paper tells that Hurricane Katrina eventually struck, and many families including the author's lost their homes due to the floods. The government’s rescue mission delayed hence, the situation forced them to stay together and fight for survival as family friends and neighbors…
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Extract of sample "Rule Utilitarian Ethics and Hurricane Katrina"

Download file to see previous pages The theory of utilitarian ethics is a philosophical view that explains how people should assess situations before they make choices. The theory states that things that can be evaluated include policies, laws, moral codes and character traits. The approach focuses on the consequences of the actions, not the activities themselves. Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher in the discipline of English, is the one accredited as the person who came up with the theory. Bentham did research and found out that the core values in the universe are pleasure and pain (Bentham, 1983). Bentham further says that the rule of utility is made by assessing the consequences of the actions which are either pleasure or pain. Bentham suggests that government institutions should make laws and policies by looking at how they affect the majority. According to Bentham (1983), a good lawyer is the one which brings more pleasure to the larger population in a particular nation. Bentham defines the concept "good" as the actions which bring happiness to lager majority in a community (Bentham, 1983). According to the theory, I would do what would be of interest to the majority in the community. Therefore, I would go with the group to collect provisions from the supermarket and feed families who are starving. According to Bentham, the activities I engage in should bring pleasure to the greater majority. My family and those of my friends were suffering from hunger and diseases due to cold weather and poor leaving conditions. The local supermarket was owned by one individual, and there were more than 50 people to be saved from hunger. Hence, going to steal from one person to save the lives of many has been justified by the theory through its definition of the term “good”. Bentham also talks about the concept “well-being” which I used to justify my action. Bentham explains that it is important for an individual to consider the well-being of a group over that of a single person when making decisions. The author gives an example of a terrorist attack in a country to explain the concept of "well-being". If a terrorist group has held hostage 20 people in a hotel and wants the government to give them access to the country’s military weapons or else they will kill the hostages. Bentham suggests that the government should let the hostages and the criminals die and save the rest of the country because if the terrorist control military weapons they can kill more than 20 people. He further advises that the state should try to save the hostages without complying with the terrorists’ demands. The situation Bentham gave above is the same as the one I am experiencing. I have to decide on whether to let my family and friends starve to death or save them by stealing from one individual. Bentham’s example shows that“good” is an action that benefits a group but not one individual. If I were stealing from the local supermarket for my selfish gains, then I would have been wrong morally. However, in the situation in New Orleans, am going to take provisions from a local supermarket to save my family, friends, and neighbors.  Another example that is in relation to Rule Utilitarian Ethics and supports my decision is an accident that involves a pedestrian and a bus full of people. Rule Utilitarian Ethics suggests that a driver of a bus full of people should just hit a pedestrian who is on the wrong side of the highway to save may persons on the bus. However, the driver should run-over the pedestrian-only if it is dangerous to leave the road to apply emergency breaks. In the example above, the driver is allowed to make decisions which favor the group over the pedestrian.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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