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"'. . . that He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.'
For from Zion will go forth the Law
Even the Word of God from Jerusalem."
|Utilitarianism, represented by a man like J. S. Mill, is a form of hedonism; to be exact, it is universal ethical hedonism. The concern of morality in utilitarianism is the man-centered goal of the production of the greatest happiness for the greatest number; good is identified with that which maximizes happiness. Of course, to make sense of this position "happiness" must be computable; yet no one has been able to do this. Morality with its universal prescriptions is again lost in this system, for nobody can condemn anyone elses pleasures; to do so the critic would have to appeal to a value  separate from pleasure, but in utilitarianism this is illegitimate. Moreover, no behavior is intrinsically right or wrong in utilitarianism; relativism and the loss of ethics results.|
|The attempt to bolster utilitarianism with rule utilitarianism (i.e., the test of utility is applied to general rules instead of specific acts) is futile since rule utilitarianism simply collapses into act utilitarianism in the long run (by extensive specification of ones rule). The principle of utility can be cleverly manipulated to sanction almost any act, even those which are universally abhorred; hence utilitarianism is inherently immoral. As with other ethical systems, utilitarianism also commits the naturalistic fallacy; it moves from the observation that all men seek happiness or pleasure to the dictate that men ought to do so. This expression of autonomous ethics is obviously self-serving and duty-dissolving. Although utilitarians have held that man ought to work toward the happiness of others, one can critically inquire as to why he should be thus obligated (especially if he gets more pleasure out of exploiting than the victim gets out of being helped). Mill is especially vulnerable here since the obligation to maximize the happiness of others is rooted by him in the assumption that it is pleasurable for the individual to seek the happiness of the group or others. At base, then, utilitarianism is simply egoistic hedonism. To calculate ones conduct always for his own welfare is merely prudent self-interest, an abandonment of morality and principle. Inclination, not obligation, prevails.|
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