midterm exam


  1. Cite a contemporary moral issue in our society. Apply one ethical theory learned in class to judge this moral issue. Use the theory’s claims to back up and support your arguments. This question is worth 25 points. Not applying the ethical doctrine is an automatic zero.

moral issue :

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Utilitarianism: is the ethical doctrine that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility.

It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the morality of an action is determined by its outcome

*the ends justify the means.

*Utility: the good to be maximized

Peter Singer defines it as the satisfaction of preferences.

* an action may be considered right if it produces the greatest amount of net benefit and the least loss/cost of any available alternative action.

* the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action.

*morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence.

* the good is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.

* “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

* calculate the utility of an action by adding up all of the pleasure produced and subtracting from that any pain that might also be produced by the action.

Utilitarianism approach to morality quantitative and reductionistic

Utilitarianism can be contrasted with deontological ethics – focuses on the action itself rather than its consequences

In general use the term utilitarian often refers to a somewhat narrow economic or pragmatic viewpoint.