Act and Rule Utilitarianism - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Act Utilitarianism is the most basic form of utilitarianism. It states that "our duty on any occasion is to act in the way which will produce actual overall consequences better than those that any other act open to us would produce." …
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER94.9% of users find it useful
Act and Rule Utilitarianism
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Act and Rule Utilitarianism"

Act Vs Rule Utilitarianism Basic Definitions Act Utilitarianism is the most basic form of utilitarianism. It s that "our duty on any occasion isto act in the way which will produce actual overall consequences better than (or at least as good as) those that any other act open to us would produce." (Smart 1967)
Rule Utilitarianism states that "our duty is not to aim for that act which will produce in fact the best overall consequences (because of the impossibility or impracticability of predicting these) but to follow that rule which would have the best consequences if generally followed." (Brody 1967)
As one can see, both follow the utilitarian dogma that something good must come in the end. Act utilitarianism focuses on the specific act that will bring that good in the end. However, according to the rule utilitarian, this is improbable or even impossible. This begs the question: How does one determine if an act will produce a specific good This is where rule utilitarianism comes into the picture. One first determines what are the rules that if generally followed will produce the best results. The rule utilitarian does not focus on finding the specific act that will produce the best results since any act in accordance to that rule will produce a good.
Thus, rule utilitarianism is more acceptable. An act in accordance with rule utilitarianism may or may not appeal to the act utilitarian, but this is better than trying in vain to find out what is that specific act the act utilitarian will accept.
Whichever form one may choose, both cannot escape the criticisms against utilitarianism that one may lie, steal, or kill just to enact that which is good. In other words, the end justifies the means. One cogent criticism is by Crisp & Crisp (1992): "Utilitarianism fails by its own lights as a decision procedure."
Brody, B.A. "'The Equivalence of Act and Rule Utilitarianism." Philosophical Studies, (1967. 9 February 2009 <>.
Crisp, R., and Roger Crisp. "Utilitarianism and the life of virtue." Philosophical Quarterly 42.167 (Apr. 1992): 139. Religion and Philosophy Collection. EBSCO. 9 Feb. 2009 .
Smart, J. C. "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism." Theories of Ethics. 1967. 9 February 2009 . Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Act and Rule Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 words”, n.d.)
Act and Rule Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 words. Retrieved from
(Act and Rule Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words)
Act and Rule Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words.
“Act and Rule Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Act and Rule Utilitarianism


...primary and subordinate moral rules clash, people should apply PU instead. Utilitarianism can be used to provide two assessments of this case. On the one hand, the PU stresses that it is right to torture these children, because the outcome will yield greater utility for more people. It is better to endanger two children than endanger the lives of hundreds or thousands more potential victims of KSM. The end will justify the means, because the end will yield greater happiness than the means. Furthermore, utilitarianism asserts that happiness is impartial. Just because the people who will be tortured are children, their happiness is not larger in value than those of the greater number of...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Compare Rule and Act Utilitarians Paper

...Rule and Act Utilitarian Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is an ethnic theory based on the belief that s whether the acts done are right if they are useful or for the benefit of the majority. In Utilitarian point of view, it is not only told about rules but also about happiness (Lyons, 1965). The features between act and rule utilitarianism is therefore based on a difference about the proper object of considerable calculation. Act Utilitarianism will use the summary concept that is that a law is an abstract principle that a class of actions is good. The believers of rule Utilitarianism do not will to break the rules that are agreed upon by the majority. It thinks more of the long term goals (Hayry, 2002). Rule and Act Utilitarianism... There...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay


...A DETAILED COMPARISON BETWEEN ACT AND RULE UTILITARIANISM Ethics is an area of study that comprises countless theories, based on doctrines of performing individual acts either right or wrong and good or bad. Utilitarianism is a common example of theory of ethics. Utilitarianism theory, introduced by Jeremy Bentham, prescribes a single value system and a mode of consequentialism and absolutism, getting the best out of good outcomes for people in shape of pleasure and happiness. Mostly utilitarian theories might seek taking full advantage of other consequences, dealing with the welfare of people. Therefore,...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay


...Week 4 paper assignment Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that advocates for the good of members of the society. It offers a basis for determiningmorality based on consequences. As a result, an act or rule that leads to more social good than wrong is termed ethical while an act or rule whose net consequence elicit bad impacts is considered immoral. The doctrine of utilitarianism rest on the worldview of maximizing benefits for all members of the society. As a result, the theory views actions from its impacts on involved stakeholders (Custodio, DVD). Utilitarian theory identifies a number of ethical principles. One of...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay


... Utilitarianism Relationship between Utilitarian and pertinent issues (i.e. right-to-work, fairness in advertising) Utilitarian ethics focuses on the practicality of the utility being focused on and the maximization of benefits. Pertinent issues in society are based on the concept of the end product and how practical it is or whether it will reduce suffering of the human being. These issues for example justice, fairness and rights among others are what the society is concerned about. Through utilitarian ethics, these pertinent issues gain justification and are seen to have great importance to humans (Smith 13). Everyone has a right to work as it is a means to an end and it reduces the suffering. When people are accorded this right... , they...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay


...obtained more happiness from the homicide than what the victim would have experienced from being alive. Although the Utilitarian approach supports the victim’s right to live, it gives first priority to the degree of happiness and the number of people derived happiness from that particular act. This approach indirectly supports the view that if greatest number of people in a society is against an individual’s right to live, then the individual should not be alive anymore. Therefore, the Utilitarian approach gives particular focus to the overall wellbeing of the society rather than an individual’s fundamental rights. It is very important to note that the theory of...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Act and rule utilitarianism

...inserts his/her full Act and Rule utilitarianism The theory of Utilitarianism is based on the premise that individual’s course of action should be evaluated in terms of the costs and benefits that will be imposed on the society as a result of those actions. Thus, according to this view, the correct course of action is one that maximizes the net benefit to the society. This is done when the costs are minimized and the benefits are maximized. As Rachel sums it up, the Utilitarianism view inherently judges whether an action of morally good or bad by its consequences, and then, assesses these consequences solely by the amount of utility or happiness derived...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay


...Utilitarianism Question The core principle of utilitarianism s that “actions are right in proportion as theytend to promote overall human happiness”. Utilitarianism is the ethical act of maximum utilization of morals. In turn, it produces positive benefits and at the same time, reducing the negative effects (Mosser, 2013). This leads to the question of how one can know where his/her actions are moral or just. Needless to say, the first one is judgment through a court of law. Secondly is one’s consciousness feeling guilty and resentment on the cause of action (Koritansky,2011). Utilitarianism extends to political ethics which introduces the problem of...
1 Pages(250 words)Assignment


..., one may be of the assumption that the pleasure and wants of the majority may determine the morality of ones actions. However, if other factors such as truth are disregarded an action may be justified regardless of the morality and the perception of the majority. Work Cited West, Henry. Utilitarianism. n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. ... Does the end justify the means? The morality of our decision making and actions is determined by the perception on morality in the majority of people. The creation of morality does not respect personal opinion (West Par5). However, people may disregard the perception of people and take actions as they feel may please them. Does the end justify the actions and means of a person? This argument may vary from one event ...
1 Pages(250 words)Assignment

Defining Rule utilitarianism

...undermine the very foundation of the society. Finally, in the example of voting, rule utilitarianism would encourage people to go and vote in spite of the fact that they may not be willing as if all the other people chose not to vote this is likely to break the democratic system and result in the collapse of the government. In my opinion rule utilitarianism is much better theory as act utilitarianism because the latter is likely to bring chaos as the consequences of it are not controlled and might contributed to the destruction of the entire system of human relationships while rule utilitarianism is...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Act and Rule Utilitarianism for FREE!

Contact Us