What are the types of Utilitarian ethics followed in Engineering?

The Utilitarian ethics was proposed by John Stuart. According to this theory, the happiness or pleasure of the greatest number of people in society is considered as the greatest good. According to this philosophy, an action is morally right if its consequences lead to the happiness of people and wrong if they lead to their unhappiness.

An example of this can be the removal of the reservation system in education and government jobs, which can really benefit the talent. But this could endanger the minority rights.

Following are two main types of Utilitarianism.

  • Act Utilitarianism
  • Rule Utilitarianism.

Act Utilitarianism

The Act utilitarianism focuses on each situation and the alternative actions possible in the situation. Act Utilitarianism states that “A particular action is right if it is likely to produce the higher level of good for most of the people in a given situation, compared to alternative choices that might be made.”

In accordance with this theory, no matter what way you chose to do good to the needy, it will be considered ethical. For example, looting the richer to feed the poor, could satisfy and make a group of poor people, happy. But looting is not a way of morality. Hence act-utilitarianism seems to justify the wrong-doing.

Rule Utilitarianism

The Rule utilitarianism states that “Right actions are those required by rules that produce the higher level of good for the most people.” We need to consider a set of rules, where they interact with each other. This was developed to clear the problem that occurs with act-utilitarianism.

Engineers with ethics should follow the rule-utilitarianism considering the point, “Act as faithful agents or trustees of employers”. So, engineers should abide by it even when an exception might be beneficial. Like in the above example, one should seek the help of law and order to prove the guilt of richer and let see that the poorer get benefitted.