Utilitarianism the amount of pain and leads to

Utilitarianism is the moral theory that states an action is deemed right if it produces the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. One of the key individuals in this theory, philosopher J.S Mill, writes that the basic principle of utility “holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” So any action is justified or morally right if it brings about the most overall happiness, and any action that does not do this would be considered wrong. Say two neighboring houses are on fire, and the firefighters that arrive are informed that they only have time to enter one of the houses. In one house there are five people in it and in the other there is only one person. If the firefighters happened to be true utilitarians, they would enter the house of five people because that minimizes the amount of pain and leads to the greater good. In this theory each person is equal to one another, so five lives trump one life. Another example would be whether or not experiments on a small number of humans that might help benefit the present and future population from diseases should be done. Again, a true utilitarian would consent to these experiments solely because experimenting would lead to fewer people in pain in the future. It is for the greater good. Utilitarianism does not worry about the actions taken but only the consequences, so in this theory, the ends justify the means. Mill says that happiness is the highest good or purpose for humans. “No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person … desires his own happiness,” he says. In other words, utility being the highest purpose is just axiomatic. People do many things in their lives for other reasons, such as going to college for the sake of getting an education and a job. But why an education or a good job? It could be because of the money, status, or virtue. But again why the need for money or virtue? Continually asking these types of questions can lead to the idea that people do what they do to ultimately be happy in their lives.Like any moral theory, objections are a given. One of the objections to utilitarianism is that it’s a theory for pigs, because the it states that life has no higher end than pleasure or happiness. In order words, utilitarianism shows that human beings have the same goal in life as that of a swine and have no higher purpose. This objection supposes human beings are incapable of any sort of pleasure except those experienced by pigs. However, Mill says this isn’t correct because there are different kinds of pleasures. There are higher-order pleasures such as poetry, theatre, and music, then there’s lower-order pleasure such as food, sex, and alcohol. In utilitarianism, higher-order pleasures are superior to lower-order ones– both qualitatively and objectively better according to Mill. “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied,” he writes. Another objection to utilitarianism is that calculating and weighing the consequences of every action takes too long. In other words, following this doctrine would mean one would have to calculate each and every action taken to see if it follows the principle of utility, and there’s no time for that. However, there is ample time. Based on past experiences and history on humans, one can determine the consequences of certain actions without calculating it every time. Mill uses an analogy of how a Christian doesn’t consult the Bible every time he/she wants to make a decision. Most actions do not need to be calculated because they most likely have been experienced before. Now for situations that are unprecedented, one would have to calculate the happiness and unhappiness that will result from the action. However, these situations are very rare and hence do not harm the theory. Utilitarianism in theory sounds just and viable for making everyone’s happiness equal and for trying to give ethics a scientific and objective basis, however when it is put to test and certain situations are proposed, the theory falls short. Utilitarianism seems to justify someone getting their hands dirty for the greater good. For instance, if one is in a situation where he or she has to execute one person in the sake of saving the lives of the whole group, utilitarianism would justify this killing. Murder is one of the few things that all societies condemn, so any moral theory that justifies murder would not viable. The theory, also, only cares about the consequences, not one’s actions or intentions. So if I were to push someone off a cliff in order to save the lives of multiple kids on a bus, my actions would be morally correct according to this doctrine. Consequences are important, however it shouldn’t be all that matters. Consequences and actions should both be considered when talking about morality.