Utilitarianism Deontology

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Observations

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u•til•i•ta•ri•an•ism

 

  • n.
    The belief that the value of a thing or an action is determined by its utility.
  • n.
    The ethical theory proposed by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

 

de•on•tol•o•gy

  • n.
    Ethical theory concerned with duties and rights

 

“Imagine you are in charge of the switch on a trolley track. The express is due any minute; but as you glance down the line you see a school bus, filled with children, stalled at the level crossing. No problem; that’s why you have this switch. But on the alternate track there’s more trouble: Your child, who has come to work with you, has fallen down on the rails and can’t get up. That switch can save your child or a bus-full of others, but not both. What do you do?”

RightWrong

“Utilitarianism tells us that we should always do what will produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people,” he explained. In other words, if it comes down to a choice between sending you into a concrete wall or swerving into the path of an oncoming bus, your car should be programmed to do the former. Deontology, on the other hand, argues that some values are simply categorically always true. For example, murder is always wrong, and we should never do it. Even if shifting the trolley will save five lives, we shouldn’t do it because we would be actively killing one.

Would you ride in a car that was programmed to kill you in certain situations? Even if it meant saving the lives on many other people?


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