Utilitarianism (pronounced yoo-TILL-ih-TARE-ee-en-ism) is one of the main schools of thought in modern ethics (also known as moral philosophy). However, this is also a very complicated position to take. But in a hidden basement somewhere in town, an innocent child is being horribly tortured day and night. And even if we could perceive happiness, though, how would we predict what would cause it? (Friedrich Nietzsche). The ancient Greek and Roman philosophers believed in virtue ethics — morality was all about being a good, honest, hardworking person and excelling in your line of work. The idea of utilitarianism is tightly intertwined with the philosophy of consequentialism. Ryan does this, not out of his love for his family, but because he believes he can be a good example for others to follow, which will improve society at large. (In other cultures, people think about the problem differently.). It is a progressive taxation system where, those who earn more pay more and vice versa. They both agree that the goal of ethics is to maximize happiness. In the case of Rule Utilitarianism, the focus is on decisions about the most advantageous rules to follow for society. Wondering what utilitarianism is and how the aforementioned incident is an example of it? The judge should follow the rules, according to this argument, even if in this particular case the rule isn’t necessary. According to act utilitarianism, our moral obligation is to pursue the action, intervention or policy that would maximize Utilitarianism holds that what’s ethical (or moral) is whatever maximizes total happiness while minimizing total pain. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a very prominent example of the philosophy of ‘Utilitarianism’. Utilitarianism is a philosophical theory which states that that which is right is what brings the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest maximum number of people. Thank you for visiting our Philosophy website. These cookies do not store any personal information. An example of utilitarianism that can be seen as consequentialism involves Ryan’s decision to spend more time with his family. The idea of utilitarianism is tightly intertwined with the philosophy of consequentialism. There is considerable overlap between these schools of thought, and there’s no reason necessarily to choose one or another: they all have their own valuable points, and the truth surely lies somewhere in between all three. In simpler words, utilitarianism observes that an action may be considered moral if it has maximum positive and minimum negative utilities. We should strive to become more courageous, honest, generous, and compassionate. In my research, I’ve read many articles on this topic. This philosophy states that the morality of an action is best judged by the utility or usefulness of such an action. This is the best I’ve found so far. Utilitarianism, business ethics and the Ford Pinto case present a dilemma, as the theory appears to be one of moral strength and a good guideline for ethical business choice. Another good example of this philosophy, in our everyday life, can be cited as the system of income tax prevalent in the US. Our site includes quite a bit of content, so if you're having an issue finding what you're looking for, go on ahead and use that search feature there! However, they are helpful perspectives to think through, and to do that we need to be aware of the differences between them. Read ahead. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website.