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There are many challenges raised against utilitarianism that weaken the theory.

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Introduction

´╗┐To what extent do these features survive the challenges levelled against utilitarianism? There are many challenges raised against utilitarianism that weaken the theory. The theory highlights pleasure and happiness to be the most important things in life but there are other feelings other than these which are needed for a good life. These include feelings such as honor, generosity and honesty. Other ideals such as love, truth and justice may not always make people happy but they are still good, however this theory does not take them into account when judging the goodness of an action and only focuses on the level of pain or happiness. As well as this, no credit is given to the motivation behind an action but the attitude should be considered. ...read more.

Middle

Another challenge raised against the theory is the fact that it is subjective and it forces you to regard everyone and all pleasures as equal, however different things make different people happy. Something that may give a person great pleasure, such as eating chocolate, may not produce as much pleasure for another person therefore it cannot be classified as a certain type of pleasure. This is also a criticism of Mill?s idea of higher and lower pleasures. Mill attempts to classify higher pleasures as those which are intellectual and lower pleasures as bodily, however there is no universal agreement as to what is considered to be a higher or lower pleasure and so it is difficult to distinguish between them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, as the interests of the majority are considered to be more important, the minority is being ignored. A particular action may produce pleasure for a greater number of people but there are other people that may be affected but are not considered. The majority may be happy but the same action may cause a minority group pain. Overall, utilitarianism does not survive the challenges levelled against it because there are many aspects of it that make it difficult to apply it to real life situations. Actions and their consequences are too complex to be simply justified by the happiness and pleasure that they would produce. The theory also does not consider other factors (such as honor) that a person needs to have a good life as it is only focused on happiness. ...read more.

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