How does Utilitarianism differ from feminist ethical theory

Be sure to reply to your classmates and instructor. Try to attempt to take the conversation further by examining their claims or arguments in more depth or responding to the posts that they make to you. Keep the discussion on target and try to analyze things in as much detail as you can. Ensure to site at least one source from the reading requirements.

Student 1:

Utilitarianism differs the most from feminist ethical theory. Utilitarianism focuses on results that would benefit the most amount of people. But when we look at gender equality, utilitarianism is not the outcome society would want to have. If something mostly benefits men instead of women, then the balance isn’t reached. Same with men, if something helps women more than men then equality isn’t obtained.

Feminist theory focuses on trying to understand gender inequality (Mosser, 2014). Men have had control over everything in this world for a very long time and continue to have the upper-hand with many aspects of day-to-day life. Feminist theory investigates on why this is and why it continues to be. The goal of feminism is for females to be equal to men. With a lot of social issues, women can argue that utilitarianism conquers with certain social policies. We could use the battle on birth control as an example. Some people want to make it OK for businesses to have the ability to opt out providing employees with birth control through their health insurance. This specifically targets women, not men. Then at the same time, some of these areas want to demonize abortion. So we have people who want to make birth control harder to get, but then if they experience an unwanted pregnancy, they can’t easily reach out for an abortion. Notice how these issues are focused on women, not men. Mosser (2014) states “A genuinely universal; or gender-neutral moral theory would be one which would take account of the experience and concerns of women as fully as it would take account of the experience and concerns of men” (Chapter 6 Readings). Utilitarianism is the opposite goal of feminist theory. Gender-neutral mindsets would be more beneficial to both men and women when it comes to social policies.


Student 2:

The ethical theory that goes against ethical feminism is utilitarianism. Feminist morals are based on care and equality and although some would say, so is utilitarianism, there is a big difference. Feminism care a lot on a much more individual, singular level and the best impact for that single person. On the contrary, utilitarianism is more worried about the overall impact of the largest group of people. For example, say a husband’s wife is dying. The husband might feel it is his “duty” to let her die because he thinks she has suffered or didn’t want to be alive too long. it seems like the greater good would be to let her live and then her family would be happy, plus there are a lot of other people in the country that seem to want to have her live. The difference with utilitarianism is that the wife had a “contract” to live longer, meaning she wanted to resuscitated if she did die. Utilitarianism states that these contracts can be broken in necessary to benefit the greater good, however, a feminist would completely reject this ideology. Also, sacrificing others can be brutalizing and degrading according to ethical feminism.


Student 3:

When considering the theories, utilitarianism is one that comes to mind that differs from feminist ethical theories. “Utilitarianism states that the act that should be chosen is the one that creates the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people” (Mosser, 2013). Feminist theory goes into the why in gender inequality. Why have men always been considered the dominant gender? Why have females been viewed as only homemakers? Feminist theories want to get females to be equal to men in all aspects. When we think about the roles of men and women, the men have always been in a position of power. Whereas, females were more in a domestic role.

Utilitarianism only considers those who benefit the most, despite the consequences. They do not consider how it effects people, they are just concerned with those who will benefit from the action. The best example of utilitarianism was given in our text stating “Suppose you and five of your friends are hanging out one night and decide to order a pizza. You are all equally hungry and decide to order two pizzas, each of which has six slices. Thus, when the pizzas are delivered, it is pretty easy to determine how to divide the pizzas in a way that is the fairest: Everyone gets two slices. It may be that one person wanted a third slice, and someone else may have only wanted one. Yet without knowing anything else, this arrangement, more than any other, will be the most beneficial to the greatest number of people” (Mosser, 2013).

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