Consequentialism vs Utilitarianism
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is the study of right and wrong. It examines the principles that determine the behavior of individuals or groups. Consequentialism and utilitarianism are two essential theories in ethics, and although they share similarities, there are differences between the two.
- Consequentialism is a theory that judges people, things, and issues based on their outcomes or consequences.
- Utilitarianism is a specific and popular type of consequentialism that emphasizes maximizing the good for the maximum number of people.
- While consequentialism focuses on the greatest good alone, utilitarianism stresses the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Consequentialism is an ethical theory that evaluates people, things, and issues based on their outcomes or consequences. This theory suggests that we can achieve happiness by comparing the results of an action with the beliefs and taboos of society. It posits that our morality is about producing good results or consequences. Consequentialists believe that human beings should engage in activities that bring about positive consequences.
Utilitarianism is a specific and most popular form of consequentialism. This ethical theory emphasizes that we should engage in acts that do the most good for the most significant number of people. Utilitarianism asserts that we all want to be happy, but we also try to avoid pain for most people around us. This theory focuses on goals and how they are pursued. Whether an act is right or wrong depends on what and how much good the act has produced for people. Utilitarianism centers on human well-being and suggests engaging in acts that maximize human welfare. Philosophers such as John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham have significantly contributed to the principles of utilitarianism.
The main difference between consequentialism and utilitarianism is that utilitarianism is seen as a specific type of consequentialism. Although utilitarianism was used to refer to consequentialism until the 1960s, it now represents a particular form of consequentialism. Utilitarianism emphasizes maximizing the good for the maximum number of people, combining aspects of hedonism and consequentialism. While consequentialism focuses on the greatest good alone, utilitarianism stresses the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Consequentialism posits that the rightness of any conduct is based upon its consequences.