- Utilitarians may rationalize atrocities in the name of “the greater good,” such as fighting wars without restraints, targeting civilians, using weapons of mass destruction, inhumanely treating prisoners of war, or using torture to obtain important information.
- There is no viable ideal of non-violence for utilitarians.
- Utilitarians may also rationalize medical experiments on mentally disabled humans or animals, or even normally humans such as prisoners since it may be thought that the harm reduced or eliminated by cures and treatments discovered using such research “outweighs” the harm inflicted on those who are experimented on.
- Rule utilitarianism tries to avoid the bias or difficulty in making decisions for act utilitarians, but if there is a conflict between rules, or an exception to a rule is seen as needed, utilitarians will again overriding rules, rights, and duties in the name of “the greater good.”
- Acting for the greatest good is so vague that utilitarians disagree. For example they disagree on whether the bombing of the Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, using nuclear bombs near the end of the Second World War was justified.
- We cannot predict the future very well, nor accurately measure “units” of good and bad, but utilitarianism is based on predicting the most good and least bad.
- Utilitarians ultimately act for the sake of “the maximum good,” but that is merely a mindless thing, and we cannot do anything for or against any mindless thing. What is good or bad or best is therefore not in relation to any one thing such as the universe, the situation, or maximum utility, but rather, things are good or bad or best or worst to being to whom things matter or are significant: sentient beings (beings who are capable of feeling pleasure and pain).
- Utilitarians promote any pleasure or preference-satisfaction, whatever is the maximum of these and the least suffering or frustration. However, sadistic pleasures and preferences (or pain/frustration due to being blocked from sadism or cruelty) should, one could argue, count for nothing in ethics.
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