Utilitarianism (Bentham)

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  • Utilitarianism (Bentham)
    • Utilitarianism is a theory where one maximises utility- it is a teleological theory where the purpose is the moral good of persons.
      • Utility is a measurement of happiness from a good service.
      • Focus’ on the consequences of an action and measures the amount of happiness that comes from an action.
    • He spared a significant portion of his life attempting to qualify, measure or calculate pleasure.
      • The problem with Bentham is the notion of good- and it’s equation to pleasure.
      • Hedonic calculus; Bentham’s objective was to measure the values of various pleasures and pains.
        • measures the value of pleasures and pains according to a set of criteria: Intensity, duration, certainty, extent, remoteness, richness, purity.
    • Act utilitarianism stresses that we should always act so that the result will be the most good over evil produced- calculated.
      • The goodness of the act can then be judged based on the amount of pleasure over pain produced.
      • Aristotle (among others) objected that utilitarianism would be a bad moral theory because it holds that the best life for a person is the life of a pig in slop- the life of physical pleasure only.
        • Mill deals with this objection by modifying utilitarianism from the form that he inherited from Bentham.


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