My topic is about how it’s unethical that some cultures force a female to marry someone of the same culture and doesn’t allow them to marry outside of the culture. my father told me I cant marry another culture
Written Essay for Ethics, Utilitarianism: To be submitted to the Assignment Folder for Utility
4-5 pages, double-spaced, writing in Standard English grammar. There is mainly ONE option. However, I also will allow a more theoretical option which is stated at the end. This is also theoretical in that you are working with theoretical insights. And philosophers determine the merits of their principles and arguments by application to cases.
- Step One: Choose an ethical issue from your life or world to evaluate using utilitarianism. Make it an issue that has some ethical complexity and causes some confusion or indecision with you. If you already are confident of the correct moral action or response, then do not choose that issue.
This is the easiest and hardest part of the beginning of the assignment. Don’t delay choosing a topic because ethical analysis requires reflection and not making a choice makes plagiarism more likely and analysis more superficial. We will share topics in class. Be brave and look over your options.
Choose an option which has conflict so that you can determine how a utilitarian would evaluate it.There are examples below. You shouldn’t choose an issue which is settled for you, however you may choose an issue to better understand your decision if it is controversial. For example, if you believe it is ethical to look at your partner or friend’s text messages without their permission, on what moral basis do you make that claim? ONLY IF you do not have a clear understanding as to your moral justification for doing so, would this be a decent topic to find out how a utilitarian would evaluate and perhaps adjust accordingly.
- Explain the case which shouldn’t take more than four sentences. If it takes longer, just make the paper longer. The analysis will bring in more details but the description should not take too long to describe as it is a short assignment.
- My parents do not accept one of my friends and believe they are a bad influence. They do sell drugs and have been arrested a few times. But I always have so much fun when I with them and I am not using their drugs. Must I tell my parents I am seeing this friend?
- I work constantly and need to unwind. I play multiplayer video games about 2-3 hours at a time several times a week. Sometimes longer. My grades aren’t where I want them. Do I have to start studying more and quit playing video games?
- My Netflix account is both my favorite expense and a time drain. I binge watch at least once a week for hours and hours. I also don’t have many friends so it is enjoyable for me to do this. Is it ethically permissible to have binge viewing be my main entertainment?
- I don’t want to spend so much time taking care of my family. Other people are not helping and it is affecting my well-being and my college progress. Do I need to help as much as people want me to? Sometimes all I want to do instead is be alone or go dance with friends.
- How do I choose which social justice cause or group to support? I am going to compare whether I should volunteer for America Reads and Counts or just donate ten dollars a month to Habitat for Humanity.
- Must I be a vegetarian if I am a utilitarian? In fact, must I be a vegan? Is there an ethical way to eat meat?
- vii.I “borrow” money from my parents which I never intend to repay. Should I tell them that my “borrowing” does not mean I will repay it?
- viii.Is it ethical to keep buying someone drinks to encourage them to be drunk?
- Because I am a superior driver is it ethically permissible I speed whenever I decide it is safe to do so?
- Is it ethical for me to use drugs frequently which I know can profoundly affect my growing brain?
- Is it ethical for me to not wear seat belts?
- xii.Is it ethical for me to lie to my friend about…..?
- xiii.Is it ethical for me to take long showers?
- xiv.Is it morally prohibited for me to eat meat every day or whenever I wish?
Some Don’ts for Choosing Topics:
Do not choose: should I turn off the electricity to the hospital or should I help my sister learn to read as there is very little to say about these issues which would require a college level analysis.
Do choose something you have control over: should I do this or not do that? Should I choose this over that? Moral analysis is to lead to a decision and action.
Do not look at large social issues per se: A 4-5 page paper does not give you time enough to analyze immigration in America or the Electoral College. Your issue will touch upon larger themes such as ethical use of technology, your responsibility as a citizen, ethical ways to handle finances, response to non-human animals or humans you don’t care about at all. A person could ask if you need to become knowledgeable about immigration because of the importance of the issue or if you should write your representatives about your judgment on this issue?
BUT, if you want to look at one small part of a larger social issue AND you approve that with Dr. Bedecarre, then you may do so. Do not plagiarize or copy someone’s paper.
Do not write about what an ethical fail another person is: If your sister is trolling people on Snapchat, if you know an employer is hassling a co-worker, if your roommate is an inconsiderate lout what are YOU to do? Develop ethical responses to complex relationships. If you are receiving financial support for college from a relative how do you show appreciation without needing to take the major they are pressuring you to take or ignoring them?
- Step TWO: Explain the general ethical theory of utility. Your writing should indicate how a utilitarian ethicist could approach and evaluate the ethical features of a situation.
- To properly satisfy this step take the time to explain this in your own words enough for a person to have a rough understanding of the general moral theory of utility.
- It is important to fully construct a brief overview of how a utilitarian determines morality. This is the next step because it forces the student to form a more solid understanding of the theory they are applying.
- Whenever a student says there is nothing to write, it is because they don’t know what they are writing about. Take time to write this and to ask questions in class to further your understanding of the theory.
- Step Three: Choose and describe specific methods and insights from utility to evaluate the case. There are options below.
- Explain the methods and moral insights: For example, I will use the perspective of a competent judge/happiness authority to evaluate this issue and the necessity of impartiality in my analysis.Mill tells us that the competent judge____________.(the explanation may take three paragraphs, not just three sentences) Impartiality means __________and is a necessary part of any utilitarian analysis. It is morally significant because __________________.
- Find specific passages which discuss this aspect of utilitarian decision-making. Feel free to include a short quote. One of the reasons philosophers do this is to double check their understanding against the text.
- Step Four: Apply the theory of utility and the methods to the chosen issue or case: it is critical to be able to identify the critical moral features of the issue.
- What is the issue truly about? What are the moral conflicts inherent in the issue? Talk about the issue with friends and these will start to emerge. This is why you need to choose your topic soon so that you are sure to have time to reflect.
- Don’t just be obvious. This is college and your application should see problems between the theory and the real world application. Additionally, go behind simple insights to deeper connections with moral issues.
- Part of more sophisticated moral analysis is separating side issues, or irrelevant issues from core moral concerns. For example, as we discussed paternalism and smoking on campus. The Harm Principle allows society and government to restrict smoking from many public spaces, even when privately owned due to the extreme harm. However when we consider making it illegal to smoke cigarettes in the campus parking lot in your car, are we inappropriately being paternalistic and taking away your power to decide? This wouldn’t make smoking ethical, but it would question NCC forcing you to not smoke in your own vehicle. A student would want to separate issues such as possible litter from smoking from the more core moral issues.
- Step Five: Come to and justify a conclusion about how to act in this case according to utility. We must come to decisions in ethics and we must decide specifically if something is morally permissible, obligatory, prohibited, or supererogatory according to utilitarianism.
- Do you agree with the analysis of utility or do you think there is a better ethical response to the issue. Explain
List of insights and methods
Utility asks us to evaluate alternatives and choices rationally, objectively and with a benevolent attitude toward wellbeing of our self and others. Utility challenges us to maximize happiness for all concerned and to consider alternatives to suffering and pain. But it acknowledges that work and pain may be worth it if the outcomes produce enough pleasure and happiness or reduce enough suffering. There are multiple methods and insights to assist in an evaluation, for example:
- Hedonic Calculus
- Higher vs. Lower Faculty Pleasures as determined by competent Judges, or benevolent, rational, spectator.Crowd sourcing rationally chosen options based upon outcomes.
- Act Utility
- Rule Utility
- Equality Principle: Each counts for one to the extent they are affected
- Satisfaction of preference vs fulfillment of greatest need
- Individual versus the group
- Are there alternatives which do not produce as much suffering?
- Lowering of suffering prioritized over increase of pleasure in some situations
- Who decides? Comparing and judging types of pleasure
- Focusing on outcomes or consequences and evaluating the morality of the action purely from the perspective of the outcomes. Do rights reject utility?
- Radical Impartiality and rationality as morally required
- Summon Bonum: Greater Good
- Difficulty in predicting the future
- The requirement for supererogatory maximizing of happiness
- Primacy of the happiness of oneself versus others: why we aren’t morally required to be martyrs or primarily focus upon others
- The Harm Principle: why society and government cannot always intrude even for our own good. (FYI, Society and government should not intrude, even when my lack of exercise might nevertheless be unethical for me to continue.)
- Choose topic. Discuss topic with classmates and Dr. Bedecarre to improve its clarity and scope.
- Describe utility, choose utilitarian method or two methods and explain their moral insights.
- Analyze issue by applying the approach and methods of utilitarianism to the issue.
- Come to a conclusion from the perspective of Utility.
- Evaluate the moral effectiveness of utility.
- Proofread!!!!!! College paper!!!!!!!!!
- Get Draft Ready for Class, submit on D2L Brightspace.
- Review another Student’s Paper.
- Revise your own paper per the reviewer’s comments.
- Submit to Assignment folder for Utility paper.
- High five yourself and happy dance.