Consequentialism And Critical Thinking

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Consequentialism is a philosophical theory which centres on leaving the world, or state of affairs, in the best state possible. This theory embodies the saying, “the ends justify the means,” placing additional emphasis on the end rather than the means. Consequentialists believe that a person should not worry about the actions, which they must partake in as long as the consequences of those actions lead to the best possible outcome available to them. The theory does not stop at individual actions, it goes further to include the actions of others, when those actions could have been avoided through your own, as being under your control and responsibility. As consequentialism develops as a theory, the practicality of its implementation is questioned,…show more content…
Consequentialism is a theory that dictates how one should go about evaluating and deciding which actions are the ones that they should take. According to Amartya Sen, in Consequential Evaluation and Practical Reason, consequentialist theory is a systematic process which can take into account the nature of one’s actions, provide the means for an individual to take responsibility for them, and to not neglect other, smaller consequences that smaller more focused branches of broad based consequentialism tend to concentrate on. The need for a systematic and practical approach to decision making and action responsibility centres around two distinct ideas, which Sen states in the beginning of her article relating back to the basic demand that one must take responsibility for both their actions and their decision making process. First, Sen states that it is of utmost importance that there is a defined evaluation stage where one deliberates and eventually decides what the best course of action is. Secondly, one must be accountable for the choice that is made based on that evaluation. She goes further in expanding her evaluation a few pages later, stating that there are two levels in which consequential evaluation can be analysed, both in a general based view and in a view that combines the general analysis with…show more content…
Before continuing, it is important to understand the difference between broad based consequentialism and direct act-utilitarianism. Direct act-utilitarianism and other forms of direct consequentialism vary from broader indirect forms. It is these direct forms of utilitarianism and consequentialism that are the particular forms, which Williams takes exception with as described by Damian Cox in, Integrity, Commitment, and Indirect Consequentialism. Bentham believed that the consequences of people’s actions should promote the best possible state of affairs. This idea that an individual should promote the best outcome for the majority leads to critics believing that as a whole, the theory lacks integrity. A life for an individual who has no ability to search for his own personal happiness is not a fulfilling or complete life. This is a statement, which we will be revisiting later in this essay. Next, an idea proposed by Williams brings faults with consequentialism centre stage. Williams illustrates a scene from the reader on page 34 of his work, of a small town in South America where a man, Jim, has ended up on his travels. Here in this town, twenty men are being held for protesting and are going to be made examples through execution. However, being that Jim is a

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