Strengths and weaknesses of Act Utilitarianism

  • Created by: Julia0698
  • Created on: 14-05-16 15:39

Strengths and weaknesses of Act Utilitarianism


  • It has method in its application of the of the hedonic calculus.
  • It is a morally academic approach that seeks the fairest result.
  • The calculus is thorough in its consideration of measuring aspects of pleasure.


  • It is not clear how the hedonic calculus resolves the problem of assessing the quantity of pleasure. For example, how is it possible to quantify and compare intensity of pleasure with duration of pleasure? Listing elements of pleasure does not resolve the problem of quantifying the pleasure.
  • The calculus does not prioritise or rank aspects of pleasure and so can lead to confusion.
  • Bentham's hedonic calculus could justify immoral acts such as the case of the sadistic guards or gang ****.


Bentham's Act Utilitarianism is not good because, despite the hedonic calculus seeming basic, the seven criteria could clash and how do you know which to prioritise? 


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