Premium Essay

Evaluate a Utilitarian Approach to Abortion.

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By hollydando19
Words 1333
Pages 6
Abortion, the deliberate termination of a pregnancy, has been the subject of discussion and controversy for many decades. Utilitarianism is the chief teleological ethical theory today which considers the consequences of an action; such as abortion. This ethical approach to abortion is useful because it determines that “an action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number”. It considers the hedonic calculus, designed by Bentham, which weighs up the pleasure and pain generated by the available moral actions; the theory mainly focuses on both pleasure and pain and the ability to maximize pleasure over pain. It also emphasises the ends of abortion over its means; so it judges the rightness of abortion by the end result, possible pleasure, it produces. The views of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are significant in illustrating the effects of a Utilitarian approach to abortion.
Firstly, Bentham’s version of utilitarianism, known as Act utilitarianism, is the most relevant theory to the issue of abortion. His theory remains teleological, using the outcome of an action to determine whether it is good or bad. With abortion being a personal issue, it seems that act utilitarianism is the most adequate theory because it looks at the consequences of an abortion, taking each situation into separate account of all others. This would then enable women who have been raped, for example, to choose whether they go ahead with the birth because they may not be able to live with the consequences of their situation and bring the child up with the history of the conception attached to the child, thus in theory giving the mother a more pleasurable life, without the constant reminder of what happened to her. In reference to Bentham’s principle of utility, this decision could also ease the stress on her family, so in this case an abortion would be seen to bring the…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Outline and Evaluate Research Into the Biological Approach to Abnormality

...The biological approach to abnormality assumes that psychopathology is largely down to the four main physiological factors: infection, neuroanotmy, neurochemistry and genetics. Infection is the result of pathogens entering the blood stream and entering the blood brain barrier or the nervous system. These pathogens cause diseases of the brain. For example in 1900's 3rd stage syphilis caused dementia and finally death. However this part of the biological approach is a very small explanation of abnormality, and with large advancements modern medicine is becoming decreasingly unseen. Another issue is multi-finality. For example schizophrenia has been associated with the flu during pregnancy, however not every expectant mother with flu has a schizophrenic child. A lot of other factors are involved in the disease, and simply labelling flu as the only cause is going to cause issues in the understanding of multiple factors. Neuroanatomy refers to the different activities and structures of the brain regions and tissue. This is often tested through MRI scans of normal people and comparing to those mentally ill. One example is schizophrenia where the ventricles appear enlarged and the amount of grey matter in the brain is reduced. It is however hard to differentiate between causation and effect, as not knowing which proceeds which can only lead to guess work in terms of causation. Another issue is not every mentally ill person has the same structural abnormalities, and where one......

Words: 399 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Outline and Evaluate Biological Approach to Stress

...Outline and evaluate the Biological approach to abnormality The biological approach suggests that psychological disorders should be treated medically, as this model puts forward the idea that any psychological abnormality is causes by genetic factors and body malfunctions. The model as 4 different elements that may be the cause of psychological abnormalities; viral infections, biochemistry, brain damage, genetic factors. Several studies have been carried out by different researchers to investigate the theories of the model. Biochemical elements, is one of the highly researched parts of this model, where Weinberger in 2002 carried out research that suggested the 22nd chromosome doubled the risk of developing schizophrenia, another study carried out by Zubieta in 2000, where PET scans helped figured out that 30% higher levels of dopamine, serotin and norepinephrine were i9n people with bipolar disorder. On the other hand Janowsky carried out a study to show how biochemical imbalances lead to manic depression. While souse carried out a study in 2010 where genomes of 1000 autistics and 1200 non autistic participants, results showed that autistic participants carry 20% more copy number variation which suggests that this may be caused due to genetics. The viral infections elements were also researched by brown in 2000 where findings suggested that there’s a link between respiratory infections and the second trimester of pregnancy, which may results in the foetus developing......

Words: 448 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Evaluate a Utilitarian Approach to Abortion (10 Marks)

...Evaluate a utilitarian approach to abortion (10 marks) Bentham said: ‘An act is right if it delivers more pleasure than pain and wrong if it brings about more pain than pleasure.’ This states that abortion is ethical to conduct as it gives greater happiness to the greater amount of people. Bentham’s theory will support the act of abortion. The hedonistic approach to utilitarianism is concerned with the balance of pleasure and pain. Therefore, it is concerned with the amounts of pleasure and pain in situations such as abortion. An Act utilitarian will support abortion depending on the situation and if it benefits a higher number of people. Bentham is an Act utilitarian. According to his theory the majority will receive pleasure through the abortion of an unborn. The pregnant women might have conceived the unborn by an accident. If the woman and her family are financially broken she will choose not to keep the child. This will lead them to take a decision to abort the unborn. This will not make the financial system better for the family however it will decrease the amount of materials they would need to spend for another person, allowing them to save some money. This will lead them to take a decision to abort the unborn child. Even though it is not acceptable to abort a child Bentham’s theory can be used to support this act. Majority will benefit from this abortion. However, utilitarianism advocates injustice as the innocent is unjustly framed. Minority is not considered...

Words: 669 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Outline and Evaluate the Behavioural Approach to Abnormality

...Outline and evaluate the behavioural approach to abnormality. The behavioural approach to abnormality focuses on observable behaviour not what is in the mind. This approach says that behaviour is learned through a process called conditioning. There are three types of conditioning these are; classical, operant and social learning. The first type of conditioning is classical. Classical conditioning says that behaviours are learnt through a stimulus-response association. This means when someone has an experience (stimulus) and it causes a reaction (response) then that person might associate that stimulus and response every time. For example if someone saw a snake (stimulus) and someone screamed (Response) then a child could associate snakes with screaming and become scared. Classical conditioning is believed to be the cause of phobias. This was shown in the study of Little Albert. The next type of conditioning is operant. Operant conditioning is the child being conditioned by reinforcement and reward/punishment. Operant conditioning is based on two types of reinforcement, positive and negative. Positive reinforcement is behaving in a particular way because it brings a rewarding feeling, whereas negative reinforcement is behaving in a particular way to avoid a punishing feeling. This was looked at by Skinner and was tested in experiments like Skinner’s rats and Pavlov’s dogs. This theory can be also used to explain conditions like OCD. This is because being tidy as...

Words: 556 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Pro-Abortion, Deontologically and Utilitarian

...The issue of abortion is one that has been at the recent forefront of many political discussions in the United States and around the world. There are people spread across both sides of the argument whose opinions vary in intensity and depend on different sources of information to back up their points of view. For the purpose of this paper, abortion will be defined as the deliberate termination of human pregnancy. It is my opinion that abortion, completed early enough in a pregnancy, is not an unethical act and should not be considered to be a decision that is immoral. My argument is based on ideas that are rooted in both utilitarian and deontological ethics as I will show throughout the essay. One of the few religions to condone acts of abortion is Hinduism. This is not to say, however, that Hinduism is blindly accepting of all kinds of abortion. In Hinduism, the belief is that one should make a decision based on what kind of effect it will have on all those involved. This is a very utilitarian way of looking at abortion because it looks at the decision and determines which choice will cause the least amount of harm to the mother, father, fetus, and society (BBC, 2013). Traditionally in Hindu culture, when considering circumstances where abortion is a possible solution to a problem, it is usually found that the procedure is not the appropriate response to the situation and aborting the baby would have negative social and spiritual consequences. I believe this is important......

Words: 1124 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Abortion Kant vs. Utilitarians

...Abortion Abortion is defined as an early termination of a pregnancy, willingly. It is one of the most controversial issues that is brought up because there are so many different views. This ethical issue today is usually split in two groups, one of these views being pro-choice, giving the option to have an abortion to the family of the fetus. The other main view today is pro-life, which states under no circumstance may a life be taken away. There are many concerns with abortion, the biggest being is the fetus an actual person yet? Many of us will never know the answer to that question. Two views I will go deeper into is the view of Immanuel Kant and the view of a Utilitarian. Immanuel Kant is a firm believer that every person has rights and that no one has the right to infringe on them. To Kant all actions should be done with doing the right thing in mind. The only problem with that is what is right to him is not necessarily correct to somebody else. Kant would believe that under no circumstance would an abortion be justifiable because it would be murder to him, tying back to the idea that no person has the right to interfere with another person’s right to life. Kant would believe it does not matter the way the women got impregnated, it is irrelevant. In other words everything Kant believed involved “Human Worth”. Killing a fetus would be destroying “worth” which goes against everything Kant stood for. His view would be that the fetus was brought into this world......

Words: 700 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Outline and Evaluate the Behavioural Approach to Psychopathology

...Outline and evaluate the behavioural approach to psychopathology (12 marks) One assumption of the behavioural approach is that only behaviour is important and that this behaviour is learned through experience. The processes of this learning include classical conditioning where associations are made between one thing and the other. Operant conditioning where abnormal behaviour is reinforced or the social learning theory (SLT) where abnormal behaviours are learnt vicariously. For example, a child may observe its mother obsessively cleaning the house and being praised by the father for doing so. This consequence (e.g. praise) may be enough to initiate the same abnormal behaviour (e.g. OCD) in the child. The behaviourist approach assumes that abnormal behaviours that have been learnt can be unlearnt using the same processes (operant conditioning, classical conditioning and SLT). So, undesirable or abnormal behaviour e.g. a phobia, can be replaced with more desirable or normal behavior using therapies such as systematic desensitisation. One strength of the behavioural approach is that therapy can focus directly on the client's maladaptive behaviour. For example, if a patient suffers from arachnophobia then the treatment can be directed solely towards getting rid of the fear of spiders instead of referring to the client's previous or medical history. This shows that changing the behaviour from maladaptive to adaptive is sufficient for a......

Words: 413 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Outline and Evaluate the Behavioural Approach to Psychopathology

...Outline and Evaluate the Behavioural Approach to Psychopathology The behaviourist approach assumes that all behaviours are learnt. It suggests that there are three ways in which this learning can happen, these are classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning. The first method is classical conditioning this is when behaviour is learnt through association; via a stimulus and a response. This is an explanation for phobias, an abnormal behaviour can be learned by associating an environmental stimulus; a dog, with a biological response; fear and pain when bitten by the dog. Therefore, every time a person previously bitten by a dog sees a dog, they experience the same fear they felt when being bitten. Thus, the person would develop a phobia of dogs. Another example is, the fear of small spaces, this may develop if fear is felt in a situation involving a small space – an elevator for example. Therefore a past distressing event in the elevator may lead to associating fear with small spaces. The second way is operant conditioning, this is when behaviour is learnt through positive reinforcement; rewarded by a pleasant outcome or a negative reinforcement; rewarded by the removal of the unpleasant condition. This can be associated to abnormalities like anorexia for example. If a person is dieting and they then begin to gain compliments from the weight loss, these compliments act as a positive reinforcement and they will carry on behaving the same way. If this were......

Words: 602 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Utilitarian Approach and Gay Marriage

...Just because someone doesn’t love the same way as you do does not make them wrong or make them crazy, it makes them unique. Majority of people around the world feel that marriage should be between a man and a woman and that gays should not have that right because they believe being gay is morally wrong.  But if by using the utilitarian approach we could see that by legalizing same-sex marriage we will not only benefit the people but also the economy. Would the end justify the means? First legalizing same-sex marriage would bring in between $20 million and $40 million more per year in taxes, according to University of Michigan. In The 2000 U.S. Census Bureau reported that there are 601,209 unmarried same-sex partner households in the United States living in 99.3% of all counties in the nation. Now imagine that numbers of people will begging to prepare weeding plans if same-sex marriage became legal in all the states. The utility of this approach will maximize the economy of our country and will also increase the collective happiness of the people who can finally marry those that they love. According to Bride's Magazine, “the average wedding costs $19,000”. Two hundred-fifty thousand more marriages at the average wedding rate would result in wedding costs of $4.75 billion! Mind you, this doesn't include the amount spent on wedding gifts. Same-sex weddings could create hundreds of new jobs after all they will need flowers, cakes, hotels, photographers and other wedding......

Words: 912 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Utilitarian Approach to Non-Human Life

...Utilitarian Approach to Non-Human Life Randi A. Teel PHI208 Ethic and Moral Reasoning Instructor Galen Johnson June 23, 2014 \ Animals: Deserving of Utilitarianism? 1 Utilitarianism is best defined as given a choice between two acts, the one that creates greater happiness for the greatest number of people should be chosen. This should be applied to non-human beings as well. Animals are essential in our everyday lives. They provide companionship, nourishment for our bodies and can provide amazement to our eyes when seen in their natural habitat. They are important in human life. They deserve respect. We as the superior being should make decisions for non-humans based on the utilitarianism approach creating greater happiness or good for the greater numbers. Our decisions based on this approach when making choices where non-humans are concerned will be a beneficial choice for both humans and animals. So what do humans and animals have in common? René Descartes, for instance, regarded animals as simply “physical bodies that lacked minds or souls; thus, animals were similar to organic machines.” (Mosser, 2013) This type of thought is also coincides with Western and Christian thinking. That is, all is ranked from highest to lowest. God and Angels are the......

Words: 1253 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Describe and Evaluate the Behaviourist Approach in Psychology

...The behaviourist approach was a dominant perspective in psychology from the 1920s to 1950. Behaviourists focus on the influence of the environment and study how humans are shaped through interactions with their environment. Behaviourism is a scientific approach in psychology that advocates the use of strict experimental methods in order to study only observable behaviour in relation to the environment. Internal processes that the brain is capable of such as thoughts, emotions and rationalisation are overlooked. This contrasts with the cognitive approach which looks at thought processes and other unobservable activities that occur in the brain such as memory, thinking, problem solving. This also conflicts with the psychodynamic approach, as by only focusing on external observational behaviour, the unconscious mind’s influence on behaviour is not taken into account. However behaviouristic psychologists consider inner experiences to be too subjective and difficult to measure, therefore they will only use objective, scientific procedures such as laboratory experiments. This is to allow researchers to control very precisely the conditions and establish empirical evidence, thus making behaviourism a very scientific approach to psychology. This is a strength to behaviourism, as experiments are measurable and can be replicated, producing reliable and consistent results. However a limitation of this aspect of behaviourism is that the methods and settings used in behaviourist......

Words: 1695 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Describe and Evaluate the Behaviourist Approach in Psychology. Refer to Evidence in Your Answer.

...Describe and evaluate the behaviourist approach in psychology. Refer to evidence in the answer. [10 Marks] The behaviorist approach works on the assumption that behaviour is learned through experience and that we are born with no experience. The approach suggests that behaviours are learned through reinforcement that strengthens a behaviour and that all learning links to responding to a stimulus. It also assumes that the environment is the sole determining factor in behaviour. There are two main theories that fall under the behaviourist approach: classical and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning was developed by psychologist, Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov adopted the idea of stimulus response and learning through association. Pavlov used a dog to show his theory. He noticed when the dog saw food it would salivate. He began giving the dog food ,the unconditioned stimulus, with a ringing bell, the conditioned stimulus. Eventually Pavlov was able to get a response from the dog when only ringing the bell which shows how the dog learnt to associate the bell with food. Operant conditioning was adopted by Fredric Skinner. His theory worked on the basis of reinforcing behaviors. The 3 main types of reinforcement are positive and negative reinforcement and punishment. Skinner used his ‘Skinner Box’ to show this theory. The Box consisted of a hungry rat and a lever.In positive reinforcement the rat is given food when it presses the lever. In negative reinforcement the rat is given......

Words: 462 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

‘a Relativist Approach to the Issues Raised by Abortion Leads to Wrong Moral Choices.’ Discuss.

...‘A relativist approach to the issues raised by abortion leads to wrong moral choices.’ Discuss. One could indeed present the argument that a relativist approach to abortion could lead to the wrong moral choices. For example, in subjective ethical relativism, although one may be able to make a moral choice completely by themselves, there are no clear guidelines in which they have to adhere to. This may lead to corruptible behaviour, as people might delude themselves into thinking certain things that are wrong; are in fact right. Additionally, conventional ethical relativism, which considers society’s values, would most likely disregard the needs of the individual, rendering them to feel pressured by society to follow cultural tradition. This may lead to the wrong moral choice being made. For example if a woman would mentally suffer with the pregnancy, but is not allowed an abortion (such as in Uganda), this would be the wrong moral decision that has resulted from a conventional relativist approach to ethics. On the other hand, a relativist approach could also lead to the correct moral choices. For example, subjectivism allows the individual to make their own choice, which ultimately can be regarded as a good thing. Only the mother herself can really know if she wants an abortion, or if she would not be able to cope with the pregnancy both mentally and physically. A relativist approach to abortion allows for the individuals needs and circumstance to be considered,......

Words: 330 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

A Utilitarian Egoists’ Approach to Ethics

...A Utilitarian Egoists’ Approach to Ethics When an individual takes actions there is always a reason. Whether it be a subconscious inkling that’s driving them, or a religious belief, the intent is there. As for me, what is my intent? In the past I have been focused on coming to an objective conclusion to a moral dilemma. However I have come to the realization that my opinion matters and that how I benefit from the situation matters. Granted, I want what is best for the majority, but only if I am part of said majority. I find nothing wrong with choosing an answer that suits me best, while keeping the well-being of others in mind. We all have different methods of discerning whether or not something is the “right” thing to do or if it is done for the “right” reasons. After much contemplation and the review of my ethical inventories, I have developed my own method. I have embraced my subjective biases and past experiences and combined them with my drive to better myself and achieve happiness and reduce the consequences. I have been called egotistical in the past, and I rejected it completely, now I am embracing it but with a twist. This new approach to ethics, one that may seem to be an oxymoron, but also one I find fundamentally sound, is that of a utilitarian egoist. The first misconception I had over three months ago, before I had made the plunge into the endless sea of ethics, was that doing something for others for the sole purpose of self-happiness was wrong. It......

Words: 853 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Evaluate the Psychodynamic Approach to Abnormality.

...Evaluate the psychodynamic approach to abnormality. (6) The psychodynamic model was created by Freud (1856-1939). The core assumption of this approach is that the roots of mental disorders are psychological. They lie in the unconscious mind and are the result the failure of defence mechanisms to protect the self (or ego) from anxiety. If the superego, ego and id are out of balance then the individual is considered to be abnormal. For example, a patient who has symptoms of anxiety would be encouraged to explore his past in order to discover problems occurring during one of the psychosexual stages (oral, anal, phallic and genital). In order to deal with this problem the patient has used ego-defence mechanisms, such as repression or denial.  The psychodynamic model has a number of strengths. One of these strengths are that many people with psychological disturbances do recollect childhood traumas which therefore can be resolved by this method. Also, by developing a method of treatment, Freud encouraged a more optimistic view regarding psychological distress. Mental illness could, in some cases at least, be treated. Also, this is the only approach to focus on the underlying causes of the disorders rather than the symptoms they create. This approach believes abnormality is the result of hidden things in the unconscious, and tries to uncover what is hidden. By attempting to deal with the cause, longer-lasting recovery is more possible. The weaknesses of the psychoanalytic......

Words: 325 - Pages: 2