Is Utilitarianism Morally Right?

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In the history of the United Kingdom, Victorian Era took place during Queen Victoria’s reign up until her death. During this Era, literature rose many philosophical and ethical questions in different forms. One of the most popular ones was Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism does not have a complicated definition to it but, it is not an easy definition either. Utilitarianism simply means the greater good for the greater number. It sounds simple to benefit the majority of people, doesn’t it? Let’s analyze this concept closer.

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For instance, Mr. Y is a high school student. After school, he wants to go home and play video games. But, according to the utilitarian concept, he will benefit more people if he volunteered at a charity organization. Hence, decides to volunteer. How easy is it morally to practice utilitarianism? Is utilitarianism morally right? It is fascinating to relate concepts such as Utilitarianism with Ethics. Analyzing concepts based on Ethics is crucial as we share planet Earth, and need to be considerate of each other. We can likely agree that rightness or wrongness is not vested in some recognizable objective attribute of an action or selection which labels it right or wrong. Nor is rightness or wrongness actually determined by the customs of the time. No doubt customs may decide what human beings think is morally proper or right, but this is no longer the identical as announcing that customized objectively determines what is suitable or right, due to the fact presumably those moves and selections continue to be proper or wrong, whether or not each person (or certainly anyone) agrees. One may ask a brief definition of utilitarianism to proceed with the concept.

According to Wikipedia utilitarianism is the doctrine that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct. (IN TEXT CITATION) Charles Dickens has given his readers to decide for themselves whether utilitarianism is morally right or wrong based on the characters and detail oriented stories he provided throughout the story. Thomas Gradgrind is a father who lived his life based on facts. He incorporated this concept into his children and the students in Coketown. Children are easy targets. They are like white papers.

Therefore, for Thomas Gradgrind to depict the concept of facts into their brain was an easy and successful journey. Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children. Stick to Facts, sir! This was what Mr. Gradgrind told the teacher to do. The children were to be raised smart. In the present world, where the scientist are praised for their doings, and researches, it might be tempting to ponder over Mr. Gradgrind’s theory of facts and focus on finding new technologies. But, for every action, there is a reaction, and it is vital to emphasize what the reactions might be before putting an action to anything. It has been noted how technologies are affecting our day-to-day lives both positively and negatively. What the scientists often fail to take into consideration is the long-term effects their new findings bring to our world. Mr. Gradgrind’s children failure is a good example of the consequences of his actions.

At the moment, the fact that his children were smart must have felt rewarding to him, but in the long run, he himself would realize his actions were not well taught of the future. Thomas Gradgrind failed the same way a typical scientist these days would fail. His son Tom and his daughter Louisa can be two references how he failed. Louisa Gradgrind lived all her life under her father’s principles. He taught her to be factual. She couldn’t wonder or be curious about things in life. For example, Louisa, while having been exposed solely to her father’s method, with its emphasis on useful knowledge, facts, a materialistic outlook, and its opposition to wondering, fancy, or imagination, nevertheless has reservations about the system’s validity. She lures her brother into peeping at the wander imaginatively; she is deeply fond of her brother; she sympathizes with Black-pool; she is aware of the happiness, unknown to herself, that Sissy has brought to the younger Gradgrinds; she discovers love and leaves her husband; and she confronts her father with the devastating failure of the system. At this point, the teacher may note that Louisa falls between two extremes -Sissy Jupe, who is completely impervious to the system, and Bitzer, the ideal product of the model school. Mr. Gradgrind was not too successful with his children after all.

Louisa showed sympathy to her brother. She cared for him. She was also based on the book that she had to do what is right. Tom is Louisa’s brother. He is so fed up with his father’s strictness and repetition, revolts towards him and leaves home to work in Mr. Bounderby’s bank. Tom, now out from underneath his father’s wing, he begins to drink and gamble heavily. Eventually, to get out of a deep playing debt, he robs a bank and is forced to flee the area. When Bitzer realizes that Tom has robbed the bank and catches him, Mr. Gradgrind begs him to let Tom go, reminding him of all of the tough work that was put on him while at the school. Ironically Bitzer, using the tools of factuality that he had realized in Gradgrinds school, replies that the faculty was paid for, however it is now over and he owes nothing more. It is ironic how at a time of need, Gradgrind’s educational theory has backfired in his face. Louisa’s confusion is a result of Mr. Gradgrind’s principles. Is it morally right that Louisa has to go through this? Is it morally right the son of a supposedly factual person robs a bank? Is it morally right to assist his son get away with it? Sissy Jupe has an opposite ideology from Mr. Gradgrind.Sissy Jupe, the daughter of a circus man, was taken in via the Gradgrinds to stay in their home.

She is representative of the circus human beings with her innocence and free-will, qualities which are missing in the lives of the humans around her. Just with the aid of her presence, her goodness rubs off on the human beings around her, although it is too late for most of them. Even after several attempts to force utilitarianism into her through Mr. Gradgrind and his school, she is nonetheless the fun-loving woman that she continually used to be because she grew up living with normal humans who notion for themselves and cherished each other. She influenced these traits on the youngest Gradgrind daughter Jane, who led a whole lot more exciting and fulfilling lifestyles than her older sister Louisa because of those influences. Jane is no longer spoken of much till the quiet of the book but I like the way Dickens confirmed the outcomes of the utilitarian lifestyle as adversarial to the non-utilitarian lifestyle. The utilitarians finally ended with a superb downfall because their narrow-minds may want to now not endure the pressures that existence can impose on oneself. The people that did not fall sufferer to the utilitarian trap had been in a position to live their lives fortunately and freely, capable to love, laugh, and use their imagination; which is the way existence ought to be lived. Sissy was a way of depicting how life can be much simpler, and enjoyable without utilitarianism. To summarize, Charles Dickens has vividly made his point in telling his readers how utilitarianism has failed. Including his children, his own principles have backfired at himself. He had to learn his lesson the hard way. The same procedure may be followed in analyzing Gradgrind’s development.

Although the sponsor of a method of education which seeks to impose a statistical formula on everything, he is early in the book spoken of as an affectionate father and a kind man, and he is surprised by Louisa’s dispassionate acceptance of Bounderby’s proposal. The obsessed man is shown to possess qualities that make a reversal in his character possible. It was tragic. Having a set of values which guide our conduct is important. We must be answerable to certain standards of behavior, and our movements must be able to be criticized as right or wrong, good or bad. For some people, their values or beliefs are held strongly sufficient to justify sure actions, which include killing others in the identity of their beliefs. Human beings impose values on actions or decisions. Because human beings are additionally sensible beings, it is realistic to anticipate that we can justify the value-set we adhere to, by imparting reasons. Whether utilitarianism is right or wrong is a question one answers based on personal values and beliefs. So, based on Mr. Gradgrind’s attempted failure, is utilitarianism morally right?!

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Is Utilitarianism Morally Right?. (2019, Jul 03). Retrieved December 10, 2022 , from

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