Utilitarianism strengths and weaknesses

Firstly, as Utilitarianism ensures that the most amount of people are satisfied with the issue; fewer conflicts would arise when the issue is made morally right. Utilitarianism advocates that if the majority gains the most pleasure form the activity, it is morally correct and valid. When the decision is made about the issue at hand, only the minority will be happy with the side taken. Only a relatively small amount of people will potentially protest against the activity carried out, therefore fewer people will attempt to start conflicts with the majority, and the impact of these conflicts will be lessened.

Secondly, when the most pleasure is gained from the most number of people, the issue that is deemed to be to be morally correct will have very low chances of being biased; that is, serving the needs of a small group of people at the sacrifice of other people's pleasure. If it is only the minority who decides what is morally correct, what is morally correct will then tend to benefit only the minority and more people will not be satisfied with the decision made.

Also, if a minority of the people is decision makers, the majority might be prejudiced against them and it would be easier to overthrow or beat the system of deciding what is morally correct. In Utilitarianism, only the numbers of people who derive the most pleasure are factors in the morally correct decision, not the status of the people who are making the decision. This means that anyone of any social stratification has an equal vote.

Leaders or rulers of the group of people concerned have the same stake in an issue as the lowest-ranking member of a group. The leaders of a group then decides what is best for a group based on the amount of satisfaction a group experiences not eh amount of satisfaction he gains himself. Therefore, Utilitarianism is a fair normative theory to some extent, where no single person justifies an action. 1b) Utilitarianism has several limitations. Identify two limitations and suggest improvements to Utilitarianism that enables it to avoid these limitations.

At first glance, Utilitarianism seems to be a flawless normative theory used in the government system of democracy, and in modern civilisations today. Laws would be created for the people and by the people, and there is little chance that any one person wields all the power. However, it has several limitations when analysed carefully. Firstly, Utilitarianism principles serve to benefit the majority. This means that the views of the minority will not be represented. This can be seen in the example of slavery, where a minority is oppressed and their needs are not represented.

This would continue to be the case if the majority, the people who were not slaves, agreed that the slaves could be exploited for the majority's benefit and pleasure. The minority is also not represented in the issues of racial tension and the minorities will be discriminated against if it provides the most happiness for the greatest amount of people. If the views of the minority of the population are represented, it also may not benefit the majority as the minorities, in this case, immigrants, tend to take up jobs that are meant for the majority, resulting in a higher unemployment rate.

In the case of slavery, giving more pay to slaves will result in a loss of revenue and decreased profits for those in the slave industry, and more unhappiness felt by a larger number of people. Secondly, the greater amount of pleasure for the most amounts of people cannot be defined easily, or measured. While one can measure the number of people experiencing the said pleasure, one cannot measure the amount of pleasure the person experiences.

Even if there was a method of performing neurological tests on the brain to calculate the amount of pleasure a person experiences, it would be difficult to do this across the entire population as these tests would have to be done individually. Supposing the population was polled to assess the amount of happiness he or she experiences– this is still not an accurate measurement one may exaggerate about the satisfaction one is feels, or underestimate the amount of satisfaction if one does not agree with the law passed.

These limitations are based on the assumptions that Utilitarianism advocates that the greatest number of people are to experience the greatest amount of pleasure. This shows that utilitarianism cannot be applied universally, and adjustments have to be made if Utilitarian principles are to be applied in a court of law.

Bibliography 1. "utilitarianism. " West's Encyclopedia of American Law. The Gale Group, Inc, 1998: http://www.answers.com/