Ethics, Reason and Utilitarian Ethics


Part I

A Kantian would not conclude to the adoption of extraterrestrialsethical structure. The Kantian needs to become aware of the systemand the manner is applied to people. Immanuel Kant’s ethics derivefrom reasoning, which makes Kantians doubtful of any system. Kantplaces more emphasis in the measurement of the morality of intentionwhen doing something instead of the outcome of the actions. Employingthe categorical imperative, then it is arguable that to adopt theextraterrestrials system, it ought to apply to each human. Inaddition, humans would have to comply to the system, if not the everyindividual is their personal moral judge. This means that Kant arguesthat every individual has their right in judging the ethicality orlack of ethics in a system. Thus, the decision of adopting an ethicalsystem is personal. The decision is made by questioning the moralacceptability of the system considering that all human being chose toadopt it, or when it is not probable to adopt the system, to whatextreme the action becomes unethical. Supposing the response to thequestions is yes, an action or inaction becomes ethical. Whenadopting extraterrestrials ethical system, every particular sectionrequires vetting via the question procedure. If accepted, people willhave to decide on its adoption via a case analysis, yet a Kantiancould never propose on compelling individuals into adoption. This isbecause any decision derived from the objective of force is notmorally acceptable conduct. A Kantian will be reluctant in adoptingthe new ethical system because of lack of any benefit for humanity.Kant’s theory depends on simplicity, meaning that the measurementof morality relies on the outcomes of actions.

Lack of emotions does not imply that Mr. Spock is incapable ofleading a morally proper life. When making moral decisions, people donot depend on emotions rather depend on reasoning. It is possible foremotions to have a slight influence on the moral decisions thatindividuals make, however it is apparent that it is not possible todo away with reasoning even in instances where emotions are at play.This means that although an individual may demonstrate emotionstowards something, the decision they make will largely derive fromreasoning and not emotional attachment. People reason about ethics,which results in an analysis of the nature of ethical decisions,arrived at. Mr. Spock is in a position to lead a moral life becausewhen deciding on ethical issues, the emotions are irrelevant.Regardless of if, he feels an emotional connection or not, he stillhas to reason. Reasoning involves deciding whether the decision Mr.Spock makes results in a desired outcome. The decision could becategorical or hypothetical. When making a hypothetical decision, theindividual making the decision desires an outcome, which influencesthe reasoning on what actions to take. The moral or lack of moral ofthe conclusion is dependent on the desired outcome and not emotions,which rules out the influential function of emotions. In making acategorical decision, the reasoning is a command on what is supposedto be done without exceptions. Likewise, in the latter emotions donot apply but reasoning that one must do what is expected. Inconclusion, emotions influence how people feel when making decisions.However, individuals have to reason on the outcome of the decisionmade, thus the decisions is a result of reasoning.

There is a disparity between rule-utilitarianism and a Kantian.Though the concepts might appear the same as they offer stringentprinciples for moral conduct, essentially they are dissimilar. Thecontrast derives from the actuality that rule-utilitarianism rulesare aimed at avoiding the probability of strange exceptions. Therules from rule-utilitarianism have an objective in mind, and thecategorical imperative is set apart by the fact that it is anobjective on its own. Rule-utilitarianism derives judgment from themorality of a number of rules instead of rules themselves. This meansthat it is a consequentiality ethical hypothesis, which states theaftermaths of actions authenticate the moral worth. On the contrary,Kantianism makes moral judgment actions on the foundation of theirincentive, and hence an essentially different argument, whichexamines the motivated action in place of just the aftermath.Rule-utilitarianism hence presumes that morality acts as a means togeneral happiness, while Kant notes that morality prevails on itsown, lacking an external objective. It is an expression of anindividual’s free will. This means that rule-utilitarianism refersto happiness as the greatest good while Kantianism refers to the goodwill as the greatest good. Rule-utilitarianism supposes that togetherpeople are all accountable for each other’s contentment. Contrary,Kantianism supposes that in unison individuals are accountable forthe situations, which are important in providing people with whateveris necessary to lead moral lives. Another disparity derives from theKantianism has a categorical imperative where individuals are treatedas ends and not means. On the contrary, rule-utilitarianism evaluateseverything on the basis of more happiness, making humanity a means.Generally, the disparity in rule-utilitarianism and Kantianism areapparent in the treatment of humane acts, and notion of the greatestgood.

After listening to friends, one already begins to envision how thefilm class may have an effect on them. The expected outcome ispleasure, which derives from understanding how to analyze movies inthe similar manner as the friends. Using the concept ofutilitarianism, it is apparent that the correct act is one thatresults in a major balance of pleasure against suffering. It is notjust the immediate outcomes that are important, but also the lastingimpacts. In the case of taking Professor Ponder’s class,considering that the impacts will be both short term and lasting thenthere is a high possibility of signing up for the class. In thiscase, it is necessary to use reasoning in examining the nature of thedecision that will be made. Reasoning has to be hypothetical, sincethere is a desired outcome. The desired outcome is that the classwill result in more enlightenment on evaluating films, which will bepossible to achieve after taking the class.

The increment selected is giving $1 to 1 million individuals. Thisis because the increment results in more good to many people.Utilitarian ethics insists on the outcomes of people’s actions.Acting ethically involves producing pleasure to all humans hence, itmakes sense to give the money to more people. An act is regarded asmoral or immoral depending on the outcome produced. In this case, theoutcome is causing happiness to a million people. The choicecoincides with is act-utilitarianism. Act-utilitarianism supposesthat for each act we reflect on, it is necessary to validate if it iscorrect or incorrect through calculations of aftermaths. Theincrement coincides with act-utilitarianism because it entailscontemplation of the outcomes.

Part II

We are supposed to act in manners that are in harmony with the ruleswithin society. All actions must not break rules, or harm others.There are individuals that suppose it is morally okay to break rulesto achieve good. For instance, such people suppose that it is morallyokay to steal drugs to save an ailing person. Stealing is not anaction that conforms to rules, yet it results in the greatest goodfor the sick person. It is not possible to agree on the moralityprovided individuals have diverse outlooks concerning the appropriatemanner of acting. There are individuals that conform to the view thatthe moral relevance of a deed is validated by the aftermaths. Theysuppose that an action resulting in pleasure to more people is whatmakes an action morally right. The belief system is utilitarianism,which can be either act or rule-utilitarianism. Though the two are adepiction of the outcome of a deed, the views differ. In this essay,I will evaluate both views by making a comparison and contrast. Theessay also demonstrates that in society, rule-utilitarianism isbetter than act-utilitarianism.

Act and Rule-utilitarianism

Act-utilitarianism regards to the belief that the right deed resultsin the greatest joy to a greater number of persons (Hooker,Mason &ampMiller, 2000). It is an idea that supposes how moral an actionis becomes determined through its worth to many individuals. Thismeans that the act is in line with moral rules because it results inmore good and contentment. For instance, the view supports killing amurderer to ensure that more people in society do not become victims.Rule-utilitarianism is the supposition that a deed has thepossibility of becoming morally correct provided it adheres to rules,which will result in great good (Hooker,Mason &ampMiller, 2000). The view supposes that the morality of anaction is judged by the rightness of rules. Hence, following rulesleads to the attainment of the most happiness. Rule-utilitarianismconcentrates on actions like keeping promises.

Compare and contrast

The comparison amid both views is they consent that society’sgeneral objective in assessing actions ought to be to result in thebest outcomes. The theories are founded on the rule of utility, whichdescribes an act in relation to its achievement (Hooker,Mason &ampMiller, 2000). Act and rule-utilitarianism argue that theobjective of any action is to result in greater happiness to thelargest number of persons.

Act-utilitarianism argues that when contemplating on taking anaction, it is necessary to follow one that will have a net utility.The rule of utility in this case referring to doing what will resultin the greatest outcome, which applies on a case-by-case base(Hooker, Mason&amp Miller, 2000).The appropriate action when faced with a dilemma is one, whichresults in most utility, when evaluated with other possible actions.Contrary, rule-utilitarianism emphasizes on the significance offollowing moral principles. This means that when making decisions,the act become morally right when it is in line with the expectedmoral principles, and a moral principle becomes justified if whenapplied it results in more good than other probable rules.Rule-utilitarianism supposes that morality needs to be judged throughreferring to overall moral rules, and that the moral rules used mustbe acceptable within a moral code.

The main disparity is that rule-utilitarianism uses the utilitarianrule directly when evaluating rules, after which an analysis ofpersonal actions follows by determining if the action conforms to therules. Conformity derives from the production of the greatestutility. On the other hand, act-utilitarianism uses the principle ofutilitarianism directly in just an analysis of personal actions(Hooker, Mason&amp Miller, 2000).There is no analysis of if the actions will comply with or contravenerules. In short, act-utilitarianism is direct and excessive. Anillustration would be the murdering of a pedophile to ensure that theindividual hurts no more children. Rule-utilitarianism is direct andcontrolled. A rule utilitarian determines if the act of murdering ismorally right.

Rule-utilitarianism is better

Act-utilitarianism is not practical in society, due to itssubjectivity. The rule appears easy to apply, however it iscomplicated by the hedonic calculus procedure when making both simpleand complex decisions. Due to the subjectivity, it becomes greatlyintricate to have any rules or restrictions. The hedonic calculus,which applies in the measurement of diverse levels of pleasure, doesnot do away with the problems that may arise from sadists. Instead,it makes a devaluation of their happiness while accepting it is alsohappiness. Minority views are not taken into consideration, yet themain rule is maximum good for many people.

Rule-utilitarianism suppose that adherence to rules, which result inmaximum good will lead to better outcomes generally compared topermitting exceptions in personal cases. The view is practical whenapplied to a functioning community. This is due to the fact that oursociety depends on rule-utilitarianism. Rules exist within society toensure people question the actions that they intend to take prior toacting. For instance, doctors are restricted from taking the organsof persons to save another’s life without the consent of the donor.Even in cases where the donor will not survive, the doctor has to getconsent from those directly affected. Likewise, drivers must followtraffic rules, like stopping at a pedestrian crossing.Rule-utilitarianism weighs all the risks involved in makingdecisions, unlike act-utilitarianism that is subjective.


It is not possible to avoid rules in society. Utilitarianism is aview, which causes people to question the morality of the decisionsthey make, which can be either rule or act-utilitarianism.Rule-utilitarianism is better because we live in a society that mustfollow rules, which makes the view practical.

Part III

This week’s lesson has been interesting as there has been a lot tolearn on ethics and reasoning. The most interesting aspect has beenthe ability to apply the lessons in learning how to evaluate actionsprior to making decisions in society. For instance, reasoningconcerning ethics informs on how an individual needs to indulge in ananalysis of all possible actions, prior to settling on what to do.This is because in most instances, people depend on emotions to makedecisions, which can be misleading. It is not possible to avoidemotions when making moral decisions, but we have to reasons toensure the decision results in a desired outcome. The effect onpersonal moral/ethical view involves improved decision-making, due tothe capability to evaluate any possible action.


Hooker, B., Mason, E., &ampMiller, D. E. (2000).&nbspMorality,rules, and consequences: A critical reader.Lanham, Md: Rowman &amp Littlefield.