philosophy finals paper

Imagine that you are jogging in the park one day and you see an overweight rich kid eating a triple-decker ice cream cone. Only a few feet away are three very poor, underfed and envious children. As a utilitarian you realize this is the kind of situation where utility/happiness could be maximized.

What options are available to you, which one would be the maximizing choice, and how does that choice maximize overall happiness?

Utilitarianism will usually explain our decisions about right and wrong quite well. For instance, a utilitarian could easily show how this theory demonstrates the immoral nature of an action like child molestation. The pedophile does gain some pleasure, but his victim suffers a life time of tragic consequences, which massively outweigh the gain to the molester. So total aggregate happiness is not increased, and the action is therefore immoral according to their theory.

What kinds of consequences would there be for each of your alternative actions in the park?

General comments: This paper topic is somewhat more involved than the previous three. It requires you to run through several steps in the argument and could require a somewhat longer paper to adequately discuss it. you can either defend utilitarianism by showing it gives the answer we know to be correct or criticize it by showing that in the right circumstances it could give an answer we know to be incorrect. (in this case it is almost certainly much easier to defend it)


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