Philosophy Theory of Act Utilitarianism Essay

Description

– 4 double spaced pages (about 1400 words), so about 2 pages (700 words) per essay question.

First Section:

Present and explain the theory of Act Utilitarianism (AU). What are the three key aspects of AU? What is AU’s principle of right action? Illustrate the theory with a concrete example, showing how an Act Utilitarian would choose the right action. Choose one of the following objections to Act Utilitarianism and say why it threatens the theory:

a.) The objection that hedonism is demeaning to human beings, or

b.) The objection that AU does not respect individual rights.

What response, if any, could a Utilitarian give to the objection? (This could be a response we discussed in class). Say whether the response is adequate or if the objection still stands, and why you think so.

Second Section:

Present and explain in detail Peter Singer’s argument that people in affluent nations should forego luxuries in order to donate more of their income to relieve famine in impoverished nations. Make sure you explain the role of the drowning child case, and how it supports the argument. Does Singer think that distance from those we are helping, or the number of others who are in a position to help, matters to determining our degree of obligation? Why or why not? How much are we required to give? (Hint: when are we required to give, according to the Prevention Principle?) Present an objection to Singer’s argument, and a reply to this objection. (The objection and/or reply may be original, or one we discussed in class, or one Singer discusses in his paper.). Does Singer’s argument withstand the objection? Why or why not?

Solution:

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