Essay by aksparkle2004High School, 10th gradeB, May 2008

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What are three concerns you have about utilitarianism as a guide to moral actions?a. The utilitarian belief is to perform actions that maximize one’s own happiness. This in itself is a present concern to me. With such selfish ways of thinking, the world would go to hell in a hand basket. With the vast array of likes and dislikes in our society today, if everyone did what made them happy, many people would be harmed while others suffered through tremendous mental, physical, and emotional turmoil. With laws of the land in place, several likes are illegal punishable by that law. In someone’s mind, the act of raping another person could bring about overwhelming feelings of happiness. However, in my fine art mind that is a sick, twisted, demented individual that needs to be punished under “An eye for an Eye.”b. Even though I view utilitarians who make decisions based solely on extrinsic values as someone whom will use you up, the majority of the world makes decisions based on extrinsic values.

Do you feel the President has made many of his decisions based on intrinsic or extrinsic values? I personally believe we all think about how our actions and decisions will benefit us before anyone else crosses our minds.

c. Hedonistic utilitarians argue “that the good is equivalent to happiness, which is equivalent to pleasure (although they do not argue that the word “good” means happiness or pleasure in ordinary language). Beaucamp; p. 113. Huh? How is this possible? Hedonistic utilitarians value actions based on maximizing their pleasures and minimizing their pains. Sometimes in life, we must sacrifice ourselves for the greater good of a loved one. For instance, take childbirth. Having a child is not pleasurable in any way shape or form. However, the pleasure and pains of rearing...