The concept of utilitarian ethics is often surmised by the phrase of doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people. As such this epitomises the empirical and scientific nature of utilitarian ethical decision making in contrast to other ethical approaches. Under utilitarian ethics it is the outcome which is important in making the decision rather than the processes itself. As such, in order to assess the most beneficial outcome of a given decision it is necessary to analyse a decision in terms of quantifiable scientific outcomes, thus one may see that the ethical model is empirical rather than theoretical in nature. This is in contrast to other ethical decision making models which do not consider the empirical results of a decision to be necessarily important but the moral basis upon which the decision is originally made. This may be seen as represented in the Kantian model of ethics which rejects any scientific analysis of the results of a decision, thus one can see a key difference between the two approaches. While the utilitarian model of ethical decision making is attractive in its simplicity and scientific nature, critics of the model point out that in ethical decision making it is not always possible to boil a decision down to simplistic quantitative outcomes which can be analysed in a scientific and clinical method. For instance in considering the issue of making use of sweatshop labour, one may quite simply analyse the financial costs and benefits of the decision however, using utilitarian ethics as the basis of the decision, the model may struggle to give an empirical and scientifically measurable metric to the human cost in suffering involved in the process.
Utilitarian Ethics Essay Example
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