Utilitarianism is the view that actions are morally permissible if and only if they produce at least as much net happiness as any other available action. In other words, the more happiness and less suffering that results from our actions, the better the action is, and the right action is the one that produces the greatest balance of happiness over suffering. In fact, according to utilitarianism, any other action is morally wrong.
If we should only do the acts that lead to the greatest amount of happiness we will find some objections. Here are the 2 I find most important. Firstly, it can lead to injustice. If there is a criminal on the loose, say a murderer, and people are starting a riot to try and catch this person – it could be the right thing to do to prosecute an innocent person, without their knowing of its innocence, to stop the riots and make these people happy. After all, the amount of happiness increases on balance. Another example, a doctor can save a person from dying, but he chooses not to, so his organs can be harvested and be used to save several other people from dying this is perfectly fine according to classical utilitarianism. In these examples utilitarianism will run counter to our moral common sense. A utilitarian would deny that utilitarianism really does conflict with our common sense.
My second important objection would be it lacks ethical depth. For example if you can save 2 people from drowning, 1 being your child or a very important person it could mean, according to utilitarianism, that you should save that important person because you avoid most pain. Even if it means saving your own child, and this seems very unrealistic for most, if not all, people. Your love for your child would be questioned, and considered being irrational or other things. Another example if you find yourself in the situation that you could save 10 lives by killing one person, you should do that. The same counts for torture, if you can, by torture, find out where a hidden terrorist bomb is placed – you can save the lives of many people around that bomb by preventing it. This is something considered unethical by many people, but is also viewed as something that could be really the right thing to do. Again a rule utilitarian might still hold that these rights in these examples will ALWAYS give the better outcome, but how would we justify that?
These objections prove that utilitarianism should be rejected. If you were the one deciding who lives and dies for the soul outcome to be that of happiness for greater numbers even though it will cause great pain to just 1 family would that be okay. Utilitarianism runs counter to our beliefs about justice and our moral and ethical rights, because of this I believe that utilitarianism should be rejected.