Utilitarianism

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  • Utilitarianism
    • Jeremy Bentham
      • "Ethics is about maximising pleasure and minimising pain"
      • His theory (3 subdivisions)
        • His view on what drove human beings, and what goodness/ badness is all about
          • Hedonism: the belief that pleasure is the chief good
          • Bentham said in principles of morals and legislation nature has placed mankind under the governance of pleasure and pain (two motivators)
          • He believed that pleasure was the sole good and evil was the sole evil (hedonism)
          • Bentham said that as human beings we pursue pleasure and try to avoid pain (moral fact) as they identify what we should and shouldnt do; they essentially determine what is moral.
        • The principle of utility
          • Utility Principle: the rightness and wrongness of an action is determined by its usefulness
          • Usefulness refers to the amount of pleasure or happiness caused by an action (teleological theory- determines a good act by its end result).
          • 'An action is right if it produces the greatest good to the greatest number'
            • Greatest good= most happiness and least pain. Greatest number= majority of people. Good= the maximisation of pleasure and minimisation of pain.
        • The hedonic calculus
          • A utilitarian system whereby the effects of an action can be measured as to the amount of pleasure it may bring, using seven factors.
          • The Seven Factors
            • Its intensity
            • Its duration
            • Its certainty or uncertainty
            • Its propinquity or remoteness
            • Its fecundity (chances of it been followed by sensations of the same kind)
            • Its purity (opposite to fecundity)
            • The number of persons affected
      • Act Utilitarianism
        • A version of utilitarianism according to which the rightness of wrongness of individual acts are calculated by the amount of happiness resulting from these acts.
        • The principle of utility must be directly applied separately to each individual in each situation
        • PROBLEMS
          • Different people will experience different amount of pleasure and pain in the same situation
          • The hedonic calculus is complex to understand and can be slow to use in practice
          • Utilitarians judge actions by their consequences, but we cannot accurately predict what will happen in the future- we cant be sure we are making the right judgement
          • Theres more to life than pleasure: justice may be a part of it!
            • PROBLEMS
              • May experience different types of pleasure
              • Following rules may lead to some very negative results in some cases.
              • Utilitarians judge actions by their consequences, but we cannot accurately predict what will happen in the future- we cant be sure we are making the right judgement
          • Utilitarianism doesn't measure how pleasure is going to be distributed. This means there is no protection for minorities
            • PROBLEMS
              • May experience different types of pleasure
              • Following rules may lead to some very negative results in some cases.
          • Extreme actions may be justified by there results, e.g the cinema example
          • Judging each action on its own can lead to unfairly victimising some people
        • POSITIVES
          • Flexible: its able to take into account individual situations at any given time
          • Considers many factors so the best decision can be made
    • A family of theories by which all say that the one which produces the most usefulness
    • John Stuart Mill
      • Rule Utilitarianism
        • Mill wasn't just concerned with quantitive (amount) pleasures like Bentham, he was also concerned with qualitative pleasures (value).
        • Focuses on general rules that society should follow in order to attain the greatest good for that community; actions are therefore right or wrong depending on whether they conform to a happiness-making rule., not because of individual effects.
        • Overcomes some of the difficulties of act utilitarianism.
          • Minority interests are still not considered; slavery may still be a problem for example.
        • Religious link: Mill argued as a utilitarian by attempting to attain the greatest good for the greatest number (shows concern for others) is similar to that of the Christian teaching to love your neighbour.
        • Must obey rules even if it doesn't lead to ones greatest pleasure in that situation.
  • A family of theories by which all say that the one which produces the most usefulness
  • Rule Utilitarianism
    • Mill wasn't just concerned with quantitive (amount) pleasures like Bentham, he was also concerned with qualitative pleasures (value).
    • Focuses on general rules that society should follow in order to attain the greatest good for that community; actions are therefore right or wrong depending on whether they conform to a happiness-making rule., not because of individual effects.
    • Overcomes some of the difficulties of act utilitarianism.
      • Minority interests are still not considered; slavery may still be a problem for example.
    • Religious link: Mill argued as a utilitarian by attempting to attain the greatest good for the greatest number (shows concern for others) is similar to that of the Christian teaching to love your neighbour.
    • Must obey rules even if it doesn't lead to ones greatest pleasure in that situation.

Comments

Aiste - Team GR

very useful, and makes it much easier to remember everything :)  

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