Discussion on act and rule utilitarianism

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Please write a minimum of five complete sentences for your one peer posting. You should also consider referencing some information from the course textbook, lecture lessons, or a scholarly source to help support your written response post.

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This discussion focuses on act and rule utilitarianism.

Behaviors are evaluated based on its social consequences when using utilitarian theories. There are two kinds of utilitarian theories that will be discussed. These two theories are act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. Act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism are both known as consequential theories (Ruggiero, 2012).

According Premeaux (2004), act utilitarianism focus on the outcomes or consequences of an individual. People focus on choosing the act where the greatest social good is prominent. This form of utilitarianism has also been referred to as the most natural form verses other forms of utilitarian theories. Rule utilitarianism is different. Philosophers using rule utilitarianism evaluate the action under which the rule falls (p. 270). According to Rachels and Rachels (2019), Rule-Utilitarianism tells us to incriminate the innocent, break our promises, spy on people in their homes, and so on (Rachels & Rachels, 2019, p. 128). Furthermore, this theory focus more on morals verses individual outcomes.

Levy calls rule utilitarianism unmotivated. It is more focused on what Levy (1997) called rule worship. This theory is based on human happiness as the ultimate goal. It has also been labeled as intuitionistic. For example, one might argue that the teleological motivation, which includes the idea that the good (prima facie) ought to be maximized, is intuitive. But it is also clear that act utilitarianism has counter-intuitive results (Levy, 1997, p. 97).

As a part of utilitarian decision making, prediction is a necessary requirement. Especially in a criminal justice related case. For example, as it relates to social policies, prediction is essential. Even more so when such governmental policies apply to either a consequential or utilitarian approach related to reducing crime (Gottfredson & Gottfredson, 1988). According to Gottfredson and Gottfredson (1988), as it relates to crime reduction, no utilitarian theories strategy unquestionably has been identified as successful. Premeauz (2004) also noted that decisions that create personal gains over gains that are beneficial for society make utilitarian theories unethical. This is because a majority of persons in society view act utilitarianism as morally wrong, simply because this theory approves of actions that most individuals in society disagree.

Attached is a video with more information related to act and rule utilitarianism (Mr. Pepper, 2015).

Youtube can watch the: 6. Act and Rule


Gottfredson, D. M., & Gottfredson, S. D. (1988). Stakes and risks in the prediction of violent criminal behavior.Violence and Victims,3(4), 247-62. https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.3.4.247

Levy, S. S. (1997). Utilitarian alternatives to the act utilitarianism.Pacific Philosophical Quarterly,78(1), 93.

Mr. Pepper. (2015, April 26). Act and Rule [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/3nSf6Agr4k4

Premeaux, S. R. (2004). The current link between management behavior and ethical philosophy: Journal of Business Ethics,51(3), 269-278. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:BUSI.0000032495.53772.42

Rachels, J., & Rachels, S. (2019).The elements of moral philosophy. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved fromhttps://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781260213003/

Ruggiero, V. R. (2012).Thinking critically about ethical issues. Mc-Graw Hill.

Example of a peer post response that you can use as a guide.

I enjoyed reading the comments that you shared in your initial post as it relates to female circumcision. Valid points were shared related to the world view you held. For example, I appreciated reading information that you wrote related to subjective moral relativist. Also, you shared good information related to the steps that you would take as to whether you can assist the surgeon. Allow me to share some additional insight as it relates to female circumcision as well as my thoughts related to cultural relativism. It is true that equality exists when examining cultures and societies based on a cultural relativist perspective. According to Rachels and Rachels (2019), Different cultures have different moral codes (p. 14). As a nurse, my Hippocratic Oath is to do no harm (El-Gibaly et al., 2019). Since female genital mutilation (FGM) is illegal in a country like the United Kingdom (Bourne, 2018), my cultural beliefs would be in opposition to assisting the surgeon. This is where our views differed.

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