Utilitarianism Applied

Utilitarianism is a theory on morality which states that the worthiness of an action is determined solely by its contribution to the overall utility, satisfaction and happiness.  Proponents of the theory base their argument on the consequentialist principle.  This is the principle that justifies the act of the surgeon   who operated on the battalion commander.  According to a utilitarian point of view, the action of operating on the army commander was moral since the outcome of the act was for the greater good. In essence, the victim (battalion commander) was a threat to the lives of his troop as he used to force his men into battle situation that were not necessary. Therefore, putting him out of action through the operation is an act that might end up saving the solders from his fatal and unnecessary war tactics.  

The action of the surgeon renders happiness to the commander’s troops and also to the surgeon.  According to utilitarianism, the only thing that that is good and moral is that which confers the greatest happiness, and brings contentment to one’s state of mind. This in essence means that the surgeon maximize on the principle of utilitarianism- that those acts which are good are those that brings the greatest amount of happiness to many people.  Therefore, the decision of the surgeon is moral and justifiable as he uses the battalion commander as a means toward what he deems to be a "good" end, which is, saving soldiers' lives.

However, the act of the surgeon can be criticized as it uses unethical acts to about the most benefit to the majority. The act in itself in immoral, and against the medical profession rule of nonconsequentialist which states that doctors should never knowingly perform unnecessary operations.

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