7, 20, 2015
Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the moral action is the one that maximizes utility. Utility is defined in various ways, including as pleasure, economic well-being and the lack of suffering. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism, which implies that the "end justifies the means". This view can be contrasted or combined with seeing intentions, virtues or the compliance with rules as ethically important. Classical utilitarianism's two most influential contributors are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Bentham, who takes happiness as the measure for utility, says, "It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong by Wikipedia. This notion is opposite relativism.
When I learned this notion in the class, The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank flashed on me. The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, is a diary, written from Anne's point of view. The Frank Family (Otto, Edith, Margot, and Anne) was a Jewish family living in the time of World War II. Initially living in Frankfurt, the Franks were forced to move out of the heart of Germany to ensure their safety. In Amsterdam, they had set up a 'Secret Annex' on the third floor of Otto Frank's office and moved in with a couple other refugees. For months, the Franks and the refugees hid from the Nazis, who eventually took over the Netherlands. The Franks had to adhere to very strict rules: no one was to make a sound during the day and all windows had to be blacked out -- no one could open them. The Franks and the refugees hid successfully for over two years, but they were eventually betrayed. Anne was sent to Auschwitz, one of the worst German Concentration Camps. Tragically, Anne dies, not of the gas showers, but of typhus. Her greatest dream was to become a well-known author, and thanks to her diary, her dream is fulfilled. Millions of people have read her diary in dozens of...