What is utilitarianism? Explain, with your own words, the Master Argument for utilitarianism, i.e. how does it work. Explain the No Absolute Prohibition. How does a utilitarian respond to that objection? Does utilitarianism require us to be impartial? What does this amount to? In your opinion, is that a positive or a negative feature of the theory.

Utilitarianism is a doctrine which states that an act is morally correct if it maximizes utility and masses are in its favor. It is totally impartial approach to a particular action.

Utilitarian’s are never afraid of controversy. They talk on serious issues like slavery, rape, humiliating defenseless people, killing innocent people etc. and condemn them. According to them, it would be justified to kill a man who is trying to rape a woman, in order to save the life of that woman at that time.

Utilitarianism commends morally right acts like helping the poor, keeping promises, telling the truth, bravely facing danger etc.

No Absolute Prohibition

Utilitarian believes in no absolute prohibition of a particular action. There is no absolute ban on killing innocents in utilitarian view. If killing is required for the purpose of welfare or preventing much worse condition, then it should be permitted.

According to the text, “any kind of action, no matter how awful, is permitted, provided it is necessary to prevent an even worse outcome”

This can be explained by taking the example of politicians who tortured their opponents and crushed civil rights to prevent their opposition party to take over; giving the reason that if opposition party takes over, then the situation would be even worse. Therefore, you must support us. In this way, they respond to the objection on killing and other unlawful actions.

Yes, utilitarianism requires us to be impartial. This is the most important attraction of utilitarianism. This amount to the fact that welfare and happiness of each and every person is important, no matter, he is rich or poor, black or white, male or female etc. This is one of the most positive features of this theory. In those times, ideas of equality were not so well understood, Mill wrote on female equality at that time. No matter, whatever the consequences would have been, presently equality will not be taken for granted if utilitarianism is followed.