Donna is a devoted wife and mother, whose main focus in life is taking care of her family. She has been married to the love of her life for ten years, and they have an eight year old daughter. One night, she arrived home after a book club meeting to find her house in flames. She called 911, and then proceeded to enter the house. She called out to her husband and her daughter, but received no response. Due to the late hour, she assumed both of them would have been sleeping. The house is filling with smoke, and she has to decide which one she will try to save. Does she go to her bedroom and try to save her husband, or does she go to her daughter’s bedroom?
If Donna wants to make the decision that would be in everyone’s best interest, she would make the decision using the theory of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the moral theory that is based on the results of decisions to choose what would cause the most pleasure or the least amount of pain. These decisions should cause the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. An individual’s happiness is no more important that the happiness of someone else and the happiness of the group is most important. If the result of the decision causes more happiness or less pain, then it was a good moral decision (Mill, 2004). According to Scarre, Mill’s believed, “the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (Scare, 1996, p. 91). Is it possible to know if the decision created the desired result?
Jeremy Bentham believed that the results of ethical decisions could be measured. He developed a formula to determine the happiness quotient of the results which is the basis of Quantitative Utilitarianism. Bentham believed that it was possible to use his formula to decide which choice would produce the greatest...