Read Chapter 2 and watch Week 3 Lectures. Choose a contemporary moral issue in our society  and apply the ethical principle of Utilitarianism to this moral issue. You must pick a moral issue that you and apply the utilitarian claims  to back up your arguments. The paper must be done in MLA format with a minimum of 500 words *You must apply the Four major points of Utilitarianism  apply Bentham’s Felicific Calculus, and apply the utilitarian claims under course materials.

Title: Utilitarianism and Its Application to a Contemporary Moral Issue

Introduction:
Utilitarianism, a consequentialist ethical framework, emphasizes maximizing overall happiness or well-being as the ultimate moral goal. Developed by Jeremy Bentham and later refined by John Stuart Mill, utilitarianism evaluates actions based on their utility or usefulness in promoting happiness and minimizing suffering. In this paper, we will examine a contemporary moral issue and apply the ethical principle of utilitarianism. By analyzing the issue through the lens of utilitarian claims, Bentham’s Felicific Calculus, and the four major points of utilitarianism, we will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the issue at hand.

Contemporary Moral Issue:
One prominent contemporary moral issue is the use of capital punishment, also known as the death penalty. This practice involves the state executing individuals convicted of severe crimes, such as murder, as a means of punishment and deterrence. The application of utilitarianism to the morality of capital punishment will enable us to weigh its overall consequences on society in terms of happiness and well-being.

Utilitarian Claims:
Utilitarianism posits four key claims that underpin its ethical framework. Firstly, it asserts that actions should be evaluated based on their consequences. This consequentialist perspective emphasizes the overall outcome of an action, rather than the inherent nature or intent of the action itself. Secondly, utilitarianism contends that the consequences that matter are those that affect the overall happiness or well-being of individuals. Thirdly, utilitarianism values the happiness of all individuals affected by an action equally. It embraces the principle of impartiality in assessing the happiness and suffering of every stakeholder. Lastly, utilitarianism adopts a long-term view, seeking to maximize overall happiness over time rather than immediate pleasure.

Application of Utilitarianism to Capital Punishment:
To assess the morality of capital punishment using utilitarian principles, we must evaluate the consequences of this practice on society’s overall well-being. By applying Bentham’s Felicific Calculus, a tool for measuring pleasure and pain, we can quantify the utility gained or lost from the death penalty.

Bentham’s Felicific Calculus comprises seven factors to consider: intensity, duration, certainty/uncertainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity, and extent. Intensity pertains to the strength of pleasure or pain experienced. Duration considers the length of time pleasure or pain lasts. Certainty/uncertainty involves the likelihood of pleasure or pain occurring. Propinquity refers to the immediacy of pleasure or pain. Fecundity relates to the likelihood of an action producing further pleasure or pain. Purity evaluates whether an action brings solely pleasure or pain or a mix of both. Lastly, extent involves the number of individuals affected by an action.

When analyzing capital punishment through utilitarianism, we can argue that its intensity is high, given the gravity of taking someone’s life, and its duration is relatively short, typically ending with the execution. Certainty is a subject of debate, as cases of wrongful convictions raise concerns about the possibility of executing innocent individuals. Propinquity suggests a relatively swift response to crime, deterring potential offenders. Fecundity is limited since capital punishment does not necessarily lead to additional pleasure or pain. Purity depends on the perspective held regarding the justifiability of taking a life for the sake of justice. Finally, extent includes the families of victims, families of death row inmates, and society as a whole.

Utilitarian arguments in favor of capital punishment emphasize its potential deterrence effects, with proponents contending that the punishment discourages individuals from committing heinous crimes. By preventing future crimes, society stands to gain increased security, reducing overall suffering and promoting well-being. Furthermore, supporters argue that capital punishment serves as a form of retributive justice, providing closure and a sense of satisfaction to the families of victims.

Opponents of capital punishment, on the other hand, argue that its potential deterrent effects are inconclusive and that executing individuals does not guarantee a safer society. They highlight the risk of wrongful convictions and the irreversibility of capital punishment as concerns. Critics also raise moral objections, asserting that the deliberate taking of a human life is inherently wrong and violates the principle of respect for human dignity.

In conclusion, the application of utilitarianism to the contemporary moral issue of capital punishment provides a valuable framework for evaluating its morality. By considering the utilitarian claims, employing Bentham’s Felicific Calculus, and analyzing the consequences of this practice on overall happiness and well-being, we can gain a deeper understanding of the ethical complexities involved. This analysis enables us to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of capital punishment and make an informed judgment based on its overall impact on society.