The utilitarianism theory puts forth the ethical principle that calls for the “greatest good for the largest number of people. ” (Sexton 2). Therefore this means that the theory is guided by such principles as the sacrifice of individual rights for the benefit of the larger number of people. This implies that if the masses can only benefit with the sacrifice of certain individual rights, then this is what should be done. The good of the masses is given priority as compared to that of an individual entity (Sexton 2).
Further still, the utilitarianism theory supposes that there is no higher end in life than pleasure. Thus the theory stipulates that any action that promotes happiness is right whereas any action that does not promote happiness is wrong. What is more happiness in the context of the utilitarianism theory refers to projected pleasure together with the dearth of pain. Unhappiness on the other hand refers to projected pain as well as the adversity of pleasure (Mill, Utilitarianism).
Besides, the theory of utility implies that in life, the only things desirable to the extreme are pleasure as well as freedom from pain. Further, the theory stipulates that all the things that are desirable are influenced by the inherent desire for pleasure or they are triggered by the urge to promote pleasure and prevent pain. Utilitarianism theory stresses on general happiness as it argues that man is not generally provoked to specific acts like killing or stealing, rather, man is commonly motivated to promote general happiness (Mill, Utilitarianism).
The utilitarianism theory allows for the degrees of right and wrong and for many, it is mostly based on ones sense or instinct that tends to inform an individual on substantiating what is right from wrong. As well, according to this approach, our moral senses help us know how to morally judge a particular case at hand where the general laws may also be considered in making any decision (Shanks & Meyer Thinking ethically). According to this approach, a right can be told from a wrong by the end result. In other words, any ethical action should result to the greatest good for all the parties involved.
In analyzing the right from wrong using this approach, it is important to identify all different types of actions that are available in solving a dispute ethically. Secondly, it is vital to establish how everyone will be affected by the actions established. Subsequently, a right can be told from a wrong by choosing the best action that will lead to the benefit of all parties while also ensuring the least harm to all parties (Shanks et al Thinking ethically). For example, this approach provides that in the event that two parties are in disagreement, the matter should be solved in a manner where all parties end up gaining.
For instance, Mr. X loaned his mortgage from a predatory lending company and later realized that this company raised the interest charges for four out of five years that he was paying back the loans. As well, Mr. X’s house was on the verge of being sold by the fraudulent company after it concluded that Mr. X could not pay back the loan. Aside from taking the matter to court, the utilitarian approach can also be used. With Mr. X feeling that his lack of financial knowledge had been taken advantage of with the company solely benefiting from the transaction, the utilitarian approach may be used to solve this case.
In other words, ethically thinking, the mortgage company and Mr. X may think morally and see how they will all benefit without causing each other any harm. The bank may decide not to go ahead and sell Mr. X’s house while also returning all the amounts they had overcharged Mr. X. Aside from Mr. X not taking the matter to court, he may act ethically by ensuring that the mortgage company reviews its policies so as to ensure that the same is not repeated.
Sexton Timothy. The three ethical principles: individual rights, utilitarianism and distributive justice. Associated Content.July 25 2008. Accessed February 15, 2009 from <http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/897733/the_three_ethical_principles_individu al_pg2. html? cat=47> Shanks Thomas, Velasquez Manuel, Andre Claire & Meyer J. Michael. Thinking Ethically: A framework for moral decision making. Santa Clara University. 2009Accessed February 15, 2009 from <http://www. scu. edu/ethics/publications/iie/v7n1/thinking. html> Mill. Stuart J. Utilitarianism. University of Adelaide Library. April 12 1998. Accessed February 15, 2009 from <http://ebooks. adelaide. edu. au/m/mill/john_stuart/m645u/util02. html>