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The Justification Of Slave Trade By Europeans (Essay Sample)


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Definition: Utilitarianism is based on the principle that an action is right if it promotes happiness and wrong if it tends to reverse happiness for the majority. Thus, an action or deed is moral if majority of the people find it desirable/pleasurable or derive happiness from irrespective of the circumstances. In utilitarianism, humanity and the greater good is the center of decisions made by the individuals.
Porter’s take on Utilitarianism: Porter finds the concept of utilitarianism flawed and has inherent immorality which justifies immoral decisions and actions but is justified by utilitarianism. According to Porter, the basic objection still remains, namely, that actions should be judged right or wrong in themselves, independent of the pleasurable consequences for the majority, and our endorsement of moral rules does not depend on the happiness they promote necessarily but on their intrinsic rightness.’ Trying to explain his point why utilitarianism cannot be used to justify some actions which can be approved by majority. i.e, if most people were to derive happiness from child molesting, we would not call it morally justified as a rule of conduct.
Justification why I support Porter that utilitarianism cannot be used as the basis of making ethical decisions:
* The greater good is not always the right decision – even majority can be wrong. A good example is the justification of slave trade by Europeans. The practice was widely accepted and supported by the Europeans and it wasn’t moral and or ethical.
* Utilitarianism is too demanding - Some individuals have to suffer or do more for the greater good of the society. This phenomenon is well captured

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