Humans are rational beings which possess the ability to reason, think and articulate possible actions, motives and decisions. Humans are also emotional beings which create closer relationships to some but not all others. It’s natural for humans to be more partial to family and friends than to strangers. Multiple-Strategies Utilitarianism (MSU) takes into account moral obligations but also tends to the basic nature of humans by recognizing what is in the best interest of everyone alike but also allows for partiality and treatment based on individual deserts (174-178).
According to MSU “the ultimate goal is to maximize the general welfare,” (179).However, one could choose to simply care for themselves, their families, and their careers without intent to promote general welfare (179). The MSU could be made up of an optimal list in which virtues, motives and methods of decision making would lead a person to conduct their lives in such a way that promotes personal happiness as well as the general welfare of others (179). According to Rachels, this list would include virtues which are necessary to live well, commitments to personal relationships, the duties and demands of social roles and personal goals, and when an exception to the rules can be made (179). The list would also promote friendship and other virtues such as honesty (180). MSU also endorses an individual to create a plan using a combination of virtues, motives and methods of decision making called my best plan (180). The general goal is to create the best plan that will allow the individual to have a good life but it must also act in accordance to promote the general welfare of others as well even if that plan may not seem to directly affect everyone (180).
While MSU is mostly concerned with creating thebest outcome for everyone alike, it does not hold boundaries to the term “everyone”. To promote the welfare of everyone includes all of those in our community at the present time as well as the welfare of future generations (181). Our actions must take into consideration the immediate possible outcomes as well as the future outcomes. “Everyone” also extends to sentient animals, which are animals that have the ability to feel pain and pleasure (181). According to the MSU sentient animals also have interests that we must consider when making decisions (181).
MSU characterizes one theory which is in contrast to the standard Utilitarian view where crime and punishment is concerned. This view is that individual deserts determine how a person is treated by others, that is, treat others as they deserve to be treated (175). A kind individual deserves to be treated with kindness whereas an individual who treats others badly deserves to be treated badly in return (175). According to MSU (176), individuals should treat others “as responsible agents who merit particular responses based on their past conduct.” In terms of punishing crime, we are treating the criminal in such a way that their previous actions have predetermined (182).
Overall, MSU rests on sound arguments and seemingly provides answers to many of the questions left by other theories. Also, MSU provides the best solution to suit humans as we are naturally created, meaning it suits our natural tendency to be partial to ourselves and the welfare of those close to us while still remaining in Utilitarian fashion in promoting the welfare of others.
Rachels, S. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Print