I went to the library the other day to do some studying, and of course also looked for any relevant books. I ended up taking out two books on political philosophy, which is something I'd never heard of before. One of them is titled "Justice. Doing the right thing" and some of the content is very relevant to my studies since much of what we ask ourselves in my course relates to 'what is crime and what is justice', a very complex subject!
So, I have read the chapter on Utilitarianism, and the familiar name of Jeremy Bentham who seems to pop up all over the place. As far as I can make out, utilitarianism says that any decision should be taken based on what would cause the most happiness for the most people at that time. Sounds reasonable until you start thinking about it more deeply, for instance does that make it ok to intentionally kill one person to save five? In its basic form it takes no account of moral virtue or ethics and reduces everything to a cost-benefit exercise, which doesn't work in real life (or at least, it upsets a lot of people).
I have just started the chapter on libertarianism - people should be able to do exactly what they want as long as it doesn't cause harm to anyone else. Sounds reasonable... But who decides what constitutes harm? And doesn't everyone have their own interpretation? Some people mat think short skirts cause harm by distracting car drivers, but the wearer would no doubt refute that.
More stuff to get my mind spinning!