A Utilitarian's Moral Solution

Week 3 Learning Resources
 
Key Terms
 
The following is a list of Key Terms for this week.
•Act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism
•Consequentialism
•Ends and means
•Greatest happiness principle
•Instrumental value
•Intrinsic value
•Principle of utility
•Utilitarianism
•Teleological
 
Required Resources
Readings
 
•MacKinnon, B. (2012). Ethics: Theory and contemporary issues (concise 2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
 
Chapter 4, “Utilitarianism” (pp. 30–40)
 
This chapter explains the origins of the utilitarian moral theory and defines the greatest happiness principle. The chapter presents ways to calculate the greatest amount of happiness, distinguishes between act and rule utilitarianism, and explains limitations or problems with the theory.
 
 
 
To prepare for this Discussion:
 
Review Chapter 4 in the course text and the article “Calculating Consequences: The Utilitarian Approach to Ethics,” focusing on the tenets of utilitarianism and its strengths and weaknesses.
 
Pretend that you are a psychiatrist and that a patient has just informed you that she is going to kill her boss. A part of you believes the woman is not serious, but you cannot be sure. You are now in an ethical dilemma, caught between your duty to warn (and thus tell the police) and your duty to uphold confidentiality with your clients. What should you do? Should the law prescribe what to do in such circumstances?
 
Write a 2-paragraph response in which you apply the principle of utility to develop a moral solution for this case above. Include ethics-related terms in your post, and be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week’s Learning Resources. Practice APA style for your in-text citations.