So basically we were talking about the arguments to Utilitarianism, which branch of consequentialism. Basically, it states that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by the amount of net pleasure which is created.

The argument comes from a book, in which there is a utopian city, in which every person’s life in the city is perfect. This is caused by magic (Not joking). However, the magic is created by a child which is kept in a cage, never allowed to leave, and only fed enough food to subsist. Basically, the city’s happiness is derived from the anguish of a tortured child.

The point of the argument is, is some anguish or pain great enough to overrule some amount of net pleasure?

Our professor asked us what a Utilitarian’s response would be to this argument.

Basically, he said that the argument is HIGHLY over-sentimentalized. That there are thousands of starving children in anguish every day and we pay absolutely no mind to them. So, the simple answer would be, no. Ending the child’s suffering is simply irrational, since you would cause greater pain to the many residents of the city.

It just made me think about how what is good, won’t always be what is right.

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