Utilitarianism as a Consequentialist Theory
Utilitarianism is distinguishable from other ethical theories based on its fundamental tenets. Firstly, one of the major views of utilitarianism is that satisfaction or contentment forms the only element that bears the intrinsic factual worth. Secondly, this school of thought also regards deeds as ethically acceptable if they enhance people’s satisfaction. Otherwise, such actions are viewed as morally intolerable. Lastly, each individual’s pleasure should be given equal weight when engaging in activities that may directly or indirectly influence people’s contentment.
Deontological and consequential theories are different in various ways. In particular, deontological schools of thought uphold ethical frameworks, which regard duty or some laid-down policies as the major factors that influence people’s morality. Christianity provides the best illustration of deontological theories whereby moral deeds are perceived as those that uphold the ten biblical commandments. On the other hand, contrary to deontological theories, which seek to ensure that actions do not break some stipulated rules, consequential theories embrace the principle that “the end justifies the means.” According to this school of thought, the anticipated outcome is given more weight compared to the impact that the mechanisms adopted to realize this goal have on other individuals.
From the above expositions, utilitarianism stands out as a consequentialist theory because it views the most preferred action as the one that produces the maximum level of happiness among people. This conclusion is founded on the awareness that consequentialist theories emphasize results more than the methods applied to achieve the required goals.