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Post and reply (phil)w7 | Philosophy homework help

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Kant focused on the intentions behind your actions when assessing the morality of the act, while Bentham and Mill focused on the consequences of your act when assessing it’s moral worth. Of the two, consequences and intentions, which do you think is more important when it comes time to assess the morality of actions? Do good intentions save a bad outcome, or vice versa? Make sure to provide some clear and specific examples in your explanation. Also note that while it’s possible to look at both intentions and consequences, for any act it looks like we can only really prioritize one of those 

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1.  Jeremy Bentham argued that when we think about whether someone or something ought to count morally that ” The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” It would make sense for a utilitarian like Bentham to make such a statement because utilitarianism holds that the most ethical choice is the one that will produce the greatest good for the greatest number. Jeremy Bentham is looking to produce the greatest good for the greatest number; which in his case included both animals and humans. I  believe that he is on the right track about the ability to suffer as what we ought to look at when we’re thinking about whether someone or something counts morally. Some nonhuman animals may be moral creatures, understood as creatures who can behave on the basis of moral motivations. While animals probably lack the sorts of concepts and metacognitive capacities necessary to be held morally responsible for their behavior, this only excludes them from the possibility of counting as moral agents. However there are certain moral motivations that maybe fall within the reach of some animal species. These are moral emotions such as sympathy and compassion, kindness, tolerance, and patience, and also their negative counterparts such as anger, indignation, malice, and spite, as well as “a sense of what is fair and what is not”.  It does not matter, morally speaking, who or what the sufferer is – whether human, non-human, or machine. Pain is pain regardless of its host.  If we are going to care about the suffering of other humans then logically we should care about the suffering of non-humans too.  If we took this seriously it would mean humane treatment of non-human animals.  

2.  In order to answer the discussion on Jeremy Bentham, I had to understand what Utilitarianism was. Utilitarianism appears to truly promote happiness within ethics. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill stated, “an action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the reverse of happiness—not just the happiness of the performer of the action but also that of everyone affected by it” (Duignan and West 2020). How I interpret this statement and definition is that the happiness of the people, is what matters. Not just the person itself, but how the action affects everyone else. Therefor, the greater the benefit of the people, the greater the benefit.

Jeremy Bentham stated, “the question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But can they suffer?” This statement makes complete sense from a Utilitarianism stance. As previously stated, Utilitarians believe that the greater the happiness of the people, the greater the benefit. So, when looking at an action, we have to look at all points of view. Will the action cause any harm to those involved? Will it cause anyone to suffer? If that would be the case, it would be best to either eliminate the action or task or revise it to mitigate any negative results. This answers the next question on whether we should look at someone/something morally and their or its’ ability so suffer.

In order for us to take this thought process and theory seriously, it would have to depend on the task or action at hand. I do not think we can 100% take it seriously, but at the same time, I do. When you are tasked with something, you truly need to look at all angles of what can happen. Everyone needs to be considered. It cannot just benefit one party, because then the others would suffer. This can be applied to bill makers and Congress when proposing a bill. Without getting too political, an example would be the new stimulus package was approved by the house on May 16th, 2020 (Colby 2020). The package has many factors that would benefit a great number of people. However, depending on who you are asking, it has factors that would not benefit a portion of society and decrease happiness in the nation.

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