Ethics and Duty – Utilitarianism

Living an ethical life calls into account having a clear perspective guided by a mindset that is informed by knowledge and belief in what is right or wrong. In this argument people succumb to different dogmas or doctrines on how well to make their decisions and get the best out of the consequences. Philosophy has had a hand in defining what morality should entail, while at it, religion or belief in a higher power or a deity is also an instrumental factor that influences how one perceive a dilemma as well as his or her stand in accepting a certain inclination.

In regard to utilitarianism, the theory proponents focus on the consequences of our actions. In a scenario of the recent rampant global terrorism let us suppose that John is my friend, I happen to know that John’s father is a terrorist and is planning an attack on a specific mall. Reporting the father to the authorities would betray our friendship as John is afraid of his father and would not tell on him. If I keep quiet innocent civilians will die. So I go ahead and tell on him. What informs my decision is the safety of other people and the conviction to speak the truth. My action is justifiable using utilitarian principles as the consequences create a relief to both John and I thus happiness. Even though John is disgusted with me, he too as well feared as he knew terrorism is a crime.

What is morally right is my conviction and duty for mankind, John’s father is apprehended and nobody dies, the consequence of my action prevents suffering thus the outcome is good. What informed my action was the foreseeable benefit that would come from preventing killings and upholding the law.

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