AS Utilitarian essay! please read and tell me what you think :)Watch
“Happiness is the only goal in life worth working for”
(Discuss how far you agree)
To many, happiness is the most important emotion and feeling in life to work toward. However, there are others who would argue that this view is too hedonistic, and that life should encompass many other important goals.
An act utilitarian like Bentham would certainly be in agreement with this statement as according to him, every moral decision should be based on the “greatest good for the greatest number.” Therefore, in this respect, Bentham would argue that the happiness of the majority is the only goal in life worth working for. In addition, further evidence that Act utilitarian’s feel happiness is the only goal worth working for is found in the Hedonic Calculus. This strongly supports the proposed statement as the calculus has a purpose of weighing up the pain and pleasure (happiness) in each moral decision in life and consequently finding the best option according to which decision produces the most happiness or pleasure. Clearly, this is strong evidence that Act Utilitarian’s always have the goal to produce happiness and pleasure from their actions, and consequently, this suggests that happiness is the most important goal in life for them; this is a teleological approach.
However, on the other side of the argument, deontologists such as Kant would not be in favour of this argument as they would argue that the most important goal in life is to perform your “duty” according to natural law; this does not at any point take into account consequences or happiness. For example, a Catholic would never permit and foetus to be aborted even if the mother had been raped, and even if abortion may create the most happiness for the mother; this is strikingly different from an act utilitarian as they would permit an abortion in this circumstance to create happiness. This clearly proves that to deontologists the end result, in this instance being happiness, is not an important goal they are aiming for, but doing the right thing or religious duty is the main goal in life for them, even if this caused unhappiness; again, this shows the shear contrast between utilitarianism and deontologists.
However, it is also worth adding, that not all utilitarian’s would agree that happiness is the most important goal to work toward. This is evident from Mill who is a rule utilitarian. A rule utilitarian would argue that they would rather be a “human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.” In this respect, Mill argues that in some circumstances, happiness would not be his main goal. For example, if Mill had to choose between going to the opera or gambling, he would go to the opera, as to him, this is the higher pleasure. Despite the fact gambling may give him more happiness; he would not choose it as it is a lower pleasure. This further shows, that to a rule utilitarian happiness is not the main goal in life, but perhaps it is to be more cultured and educated, even if this causes boredom and no happiness.
In conclusion, the arguments suggest that happiness is not the only goal in life that is worth working for as act utilitarian’s argue, because sometimes happiness is not always in the best interests of the individual, in terms of their development and growth as a cultured human being, as Mill would argue. Therefore, perhaps other goals in life are more important such as educating oneself, and helping others as a Christian would argue, even if this does not produce happiness.
Please tell me what you think, be as honest as possible, as i keep getting level 5 or 6 and i'm really aiming for a level 7 (high A) but i'm not sure how to get there. My teacher keeps saying i should develop the points etc. but to me it seems i develop them enough considering the short time restirction of 15 minutes. p.s. my exam board is AQA.
The relevant information was all there in relation to the theories you discussed but you never said why YOU agreed with one and not the other. You just said what Deontologists would say and what Act/Rule utilitarians would say but you didn't explain why you felt the act utilitarian stance was deficient.
You could probably get more marks just by slightly changing the style of the essay. For example you say: 'This further shows, that to a rule utilitarian happiness is not the main goal in life, but perhaps it is to be more cultured and educated, even if this causes boredom and no happiness.' and you could instead say something like 'I agree with the rule utilitarian view because it does seem that we don't always choose what brings the most happiness, as the gambling case shows'
Back when I did Philosophy A level examiners loved it if you gave your own opinion on the question...