Utilitarianism and Universalism
Introduction of the Concepts
Utilitarianism is comparatively an older concept that highlights the morality of an action based on its impact on maximum number of people in the world. An action is considered moral, if it provides maximum happiness to maximum number of people around the world (Tsoukas, 2011). On the other hand, Universalism is comparatively a new concept that highlights that that there are few action, which are categorical imperative regardless of their impact on others. Both Utilitarianism and Universalism expounds the basis for our actions. These theories guides an individual to choose the best and morally correct option.
These concept guides that how our actions should be evaluated. While they provide a yardstick to evaluate the actions but these concept are in many ways different from each other (Smith & Haakonssen, 2002). Taking the example of people with disabilities in the world will explain the situation. Suppose, all schools in a city is completely inaccessible for people with disabilities and the way they are constructed, it is difficult to accommodate kids with disabilities. So, if we apply the concept of utilitarianism in it, the decision maybe to not make any structural changes in the schools as it may disturb majorly of the non-disabled kids. As the strength of kids with disabilities in the city is low, they will not have access to education. On the contrary, if we apply the concept of universalism in it, it will highlight that kids with disabilities have an equal right for education as other kids. Even if it disturbs other kids for some time, the schools should be made accessible for all kids including kids with disabilities. All the major global human rights laws are based on the theory of Universalism.
Ethical Relativism and Egoism
Introduction of the Concepts
Ethical relativism creates morality of any action based on the local culture. An action which is considered right in a society may be considered wrong in other society. The morality of the actions in this case is defined by the cultural values (Tsoukas, 2011). For example, once slavery was considered correct in the United States, while the same practice was not considered right in many other cultures. An ethical relativist in this case will consider both actions in these societies as right. The concept of ethical relativism is somewhat related to egoism. The concept of egoism consider that the basic motivation factor for anybody is their personal interest. For example, a person working in a non-governmental organization might be working for the welfare of poor people, but his basic motivation is his remuneration that he is earning from this job.
According to the concept of Egoism, a person’s morality of the action is defined by his personal benefit. This concept is somewhat related to the ethical relativism. It can be said that the ethical relativism is the collective egoism by a particular group of people in a society. In case of slavery in United States, this might be the personal wish of different people to have a slave for themselves and when same kind of personal wishes combine, this form the cultural practice of that place (Patterson, 1996). The cultural practices defines the morality of an action; therefore, even a practice of slavery can be considered fine for them. While the practices that arise from the notion of egoism and ethical relativism is widely practiced throughout the world, but it should never be the defining factor for our actions.
Patterson, D. (1996). A companion to philosophy of law and legal theory. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.
Slavitt, D. (2008). The consolation of philosophy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Smith, A., & Haakonssen, K. (2002). The theory of moral sentiments. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Tsoukas, H. (2011). Philosophy and organization theory. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald.