A paper on utilitarian ethics

Summary[ edit ] Singer's central argument is an expansion of the utilitarian idea that "the greatest good" is the only measure of good or ethical behavior. He argues that there is no reason not to apply this principle to other animals.

A paper on utilitarian ethics

Inequalities in Health, Inequalities in Health Care: Four Generations of Discussion about Justice and Cost-effectiveness Analysis Since at least the s, bioethics has addressed questions of justice in health policy.

Much of the discussion has focused on health care, including the question of what role, if any, the techniques of cost-effectiveness analysis should play in the allocation of health care resources.

In our view, this discussion has evolved through four generations of perspective and analysis, each asking different questions and seeking different solutions. In this paper, we use these four generations of commentary as a vehicle for exploring ethical questions about cost-effectiveness analysis, including some of the limitations of the standard arguments made against CEA based on its distributive implications.

We then explore newer alternatives in CEA, including what is now called cost-value analysis, designed in response to these moral arguments. We also use the generational device to illustrate the importance of focusing on inequalities in health, and not merely health care, a view with early roots in "first generation" questions about a right to health.

First generation In the first generation of commentary, the initial questions of interest were: Is there a moral right to health? Is there a moral right to health care? Despite the inclusion of language about a right to health in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the bioethics literature did not much pursue the question of a moral right to health.

Inequalities in health were viewed as unfair by at least some commentators, particularly when these inequalities were associated with poverty or environmental or occupational hazards. However, because health did not fit the model of a good or service that societies could in some strict sense distribute, a right to health was viewed as a conceptually confused and impractical objective.

Instead, interest focused on whether there is a right to health care and, and if so, how to understand the nature of the entitlement grounded by the right. That is, to what medical goods and services are individuals entitled?

The answers to these questions followed predictable lines in moral theory. Libertarian, utilitarian and egalitarian views emerged and were never reconciled. In many respects, we have never fully left this original debate, as these divides continue to resonate in subsequent generations of discussion.

Libertarians rejected a moral right to health care. The job of justice, they argued, is to protect individual liberty and property rights, not to bring about some patterned conception of distribution.

At the same time, however, many libertarians made room within their theories for some role for the state usually vouchers in ensuring that the poor and unfortunate have access to a decent minimum of health care services Engelhardt ; Lomasky Commentators who argued from a family of egalitarian positions, by contrast, all defended an universal moral right to health care.

None of them, however, provided accounts robust enough to adequately specify the content of that right. Perhaps the strongest egalitarian view is one that understands justice as equality of welfare including health status.

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Robert Veatch, for example, argued that justice requires equality of objective net welfare over a lifetime for each individual, and that a "pragmatic derivative" of this principle favored a right to health care necessary "to provide an opportunity for a level of health equal as far as possible to the health of other people" Veatch, A more moderate, and more narrowly crafted, form of egalitarianism is that of Norman Daniels Daniels He argued that all individuals are entitled to a decent minimum of health care services.

His main argument rests on two claims. First, a robust commitment to equality of opportunity construed in a very broad sense recognizes that good health is specially strategic in realizing most species-typical life plans, and second, health care services are specially strategic in achieving improved health status.

A third, and still weaker version of egalitarianism simply holds that at least a part of what justice demands is some priority to the worst-off. Some utilitarians also defended the view that there are good reasons, grounded in the interests of maximizing welfare generally, for societies to guarantee that all citizens have access to at least a decent minimum of health care.

The problem for utilitarians was establishing how much societies should allocate to health care and how these resources should be spent. Some specifically looked outside of moral philosophy to cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis as potential methods for answering these questions Beauchamp Still another strategy offered by Allen Buchanan concluded that a legal entitlement to a decent minimum could be justified morally through a variety of arguments, including a principle of enforced beneficence Buchanan His approach expressly rejected the need to identify a principled basis for specifying the content of the decent minimum and instead maintained that its identification was a matter of collective choice and fair procedure.

Second Generation The first generation of commentary on justice and health policy concluded then with a near universal agreement that just societies should provide all its members with guaranteed access to at least a decent minimum of health care, regardless of whether this guaranteed access is accorded the status of a right.

There was no agreement, however, as to how accounts of justice specify the scope of services to be included in the decent minimum, or even if they should. For those writers concerned to influence public debate and policy, there was a sense of frustration that this conclusion about a decent minimum, while welcome, was too anemic to be of much practical use.

Accordingly, the litearture of the second generation focused on a central, and practical, question:Mar 24,  · This essay - or post if you wish - is intended as a concise exploration of utilitarianism, one of many ethical movements within the world of moral philosophy.

An understanding of this topic could prove useful to IB philosophy students taking ethics as one of their chosen options. Jurisprudence Ethics Paper - Ethical dilemmas are presented to people nearly every day.

Ethics is the discipline of dealing with good and bad and with moral duty and obligation (Unknown, ). When an ethical decision arises, many times it is not in a black or white area that can be selected.

A paper on utilitarian ethics

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Self-driving cars are already cruising the streets. But before they can become widespread, carmakers must solve an impossible ethical dilemma of algorithmic morality. Deontological & Kantian Ethics. This strain of moral reflection that argues that moral treatment is appropriate to humans because of their rationality has a long history.

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A paper on utilitarian ethics

Ethics Paper Submitter to: JERRY VAN HAMME RGS Natural Rights Theories, and Religious Ethics A “utilitarian” argument, in the strict sense, is one what alleges that we ought to do something because it will produce more total happiness than doing anything else would.

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