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Philosophy Utilitarianism Essay

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PHIL 102 Essay One


Topic: Utilitarianism.   Are classical act utilitarians really committed to doing unjust things in order to maximise utility? Give reasons for your answer, and explain the implications of your answer for your overall assessment of classical act utilitarianism.


The “Injustice” Objection to Classical Utilitarianism – a beginners’ guide

Those new to philosophy may find it useful to follow the directions below in presenting their essay.  

1.   Say what you will be arguing for.  
(“In this essay, I will argue that the injustice objection to Classical Act Utilitarianism can OR cannot be successfully met by the long term consequences OR secondary principles OR “intuitions can’t be trusted” reply’)  

2.   Describe consequentialism.
(Be very brief –one sentence)

3.   Describe Classical Utilitarianism.
(Be brief, and be sure to explain its relationship to consequentialism)  

4.   Describe the “Injustice” objection to Classical Utilitarianism. It might be helpful to give an example.

5.   Identify the three standard replies to this objection (see lecture notes) and then choose ONE to explain in more detail.  

6.   Argue that your chosen reply either does or doesn’t really succeed in defending Classical Utilitarianism.
(This is the most important part of the essay, where you get to state and defend your own evaluation. You can argue that this reply to the objection does, or that it doesn’t succeed in defending the theory, it is up to you.   Think about it for yourself, consult the “Help for Essay 1” below)  

7.   Say what can be concluded from what you have said
(Be modest in your conclusion.   It is unlikely that you have shown that Utilitarianism should be rejected altogether – as you have only discussed one reply to one objection, and may have only discussed the objection and reply in relation to one example)

8.   Offer your final reflections
Give your view on whether, on more general grounds, Classical...

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