How fair is the judgment that Bentham’s Utilitarianism is a ‘pig philosophy’ or ‘swine ethic.’ (10 marks)
Thomas Carlyle was a critic of Bentham’s approach of Utilitarianism. He reflects on Bentham’s approach as a ‘pig philosophy’. This is because he saw it more as a morality based on the ‘swinish pleasure of the masses.’
Bentham’s philosophy was referred as a swinish or the pig’s philosophy as it endorsed on the greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest number of people. This is degrading humans viewing them as animals that focus mainly on the needs of the majority whether even if the minority is morally approved. An example of this will be abortion. Bentham’s theory will support the act of abortion. According to his theory the majority will receive pleasure through the abortion of an unborn. The pregnant women ...view middle of the document...
Majority will benefit from this abortion. However, utilitarianism advocates injustice as the innocent is unjustly framed. Minority is not considered although they are still humans. They have to go through pain even though they are innocent.
Moreover, it ignores the importance of duty. An act maybe right or wrong for reasons other than the amount of good or evil it produces. A millionaire asks his friend to swear that on his death he will give all of his assets to his local football club. The millionaire dies and his friend sets to fulfill his last wish. However, he sees an advertisement to save 1 million people who are dying of starvation. The question of should he keep the promise or save 1 million people will raise. Some promises can be bad and should not be kept. The role of duty of each individual is important.
On the other hand, the theory is fair to an extent as it promotes the well being of the greatest number of people. His is the basis of the health care system: care is provided to improve the health of the population. If more money is spent on health services, a greater amount of people are healthier therefore happier. If a person has been severely ill and the doctors have decided that he will die in the next 2 years. For the period in-between he is going to be bed ridden unable to do anything else. This theory can be used to take a decision that euthanasia is a correct act. For the reason that the amount of pain his family, friends and himself have to suffer will be reduced. This will also allow saving money for the medicine meaning it will be useful for another person has a higher chance of recovering form the illness.
Lastly, I support the statement that Utilitarianism is a ‘pig philosophy’. This is because it focuses on the majority portrays human beings as animals that are emotionless. It does not focus on the motive and intentions and so rejects the principle of treating people with intrinsic value.