Utilitarianism Principles and Rightness

Utilitarianism Principles and Rightness

1. Reading

What is due?

Hi, for this week assignment, please read carefully Bentham on utilitarianism and Carritt’s criticism of it. Chose one of the three criticisms that Carritt thinks are valid (number 2, 3 or 4), and write a short essay DEFENDING utilitarianism against the objection. Write 150 to 400 words (note that I extended the word limits).


This assignment is meant to assess your understanding of the texts and your capacity to engage critically with them. This is an exercise that helps you develop the capacity to defend a thesis, identify weak points in an argument, and argue for and against specific claims. It will be useful also in preparation for your final paper.


In your submission, you are expected to 1) briefly describe utilitarianism and one objection to it, based on the reading, and 2) defend utilitarianism by responding to the objection. In order to do so, you should identify at least one weakness in the objection and explain why it is relevant. Try to defend utilitarianism even if you think that all three criticisms are convincing.


As mentioned above I extended the word limits for this assignment, from 150-300 (as in previous Understanding assignments) to 150-400 words. Accordingly, grading criteria are modified as follows:

number of words <100 100-139 140-149 150-400 401-410 411-450 >450
points -2 points -1 point -0.5 points Great job! Ok, excused -1 point -2 points


Understanding assignments – Defend a position

Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeContent coverageYour submission includes a description of the position under consideration and one objection to it, based on the readings. The description is correct and delivers all relevant information, showing that you studied the text. 8 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCritical understandingYou are able to defend a position against the objection by identifying clearly at least one weak point in the objection and explaining why this weakness is relevant. You develop your argument using your own words and possibly your own examples. Your submission shows your autonomous reflection on the contents. 8 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeWriting and logisticsYour submission is written clearly. Its length and format respect the instructions. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct. 4 pts
Total Points: 20

2. Discussion

What is due?

Please choose one topic (see below) and post at least one reflection and two comments to your peers’ reflections.


This assignment is meant to assess your capacity to understand and reflect autonomously on the contents that you studied, and your capacity to engage with different opinions and views in a respectful and fruitful way, collaborating with your peers for an inclusive learning environment.


Please write:

1) One post on the chosen prompt, 100 to 200 words

2) At least two comments on your peers’ posts, 50 to 100 words each. One of the comments can be your reply to a comment you received. Comments can be on any topic, not necessarily the prompt you have chosen.

Please be sure that your posts are on topic, and your comments are respectful and constructive. See the rubric for details.

IMPORTANT: This is a group discussion; be sure that you post in your group, not in the general discussion. Only if you post in your group your submission will be graded.


1) Do you think William James’ position on determinism is satisfactory? Why?

2) Are you a universalist or a utilitarian in moral philosophy? Defend your choice.

3) In your opinion, are there moral facts? What are they? Make an example and defend your position.

4) Share your thoughts on any of the additional resources and how it relates to the topics of this week. Utilitarianism Principles and Rightness Utilitarianism Principles and Rightness Utilitarianism Principles and Rightness project