Utilitarianism

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  • Created by: Lulu
  • Created on: 12-05-13 08:08

Utilitarianism

Advantages

  • Requires no special knowledge to understand it- it is a commonsense theory
  • It seems natural to follow- avoid pain and maximise pleasure
  • It is straight forward and is therefore easy to understand
  • Preference utilitarianism creates the important principle of being an impartial observer- standing in someone else's shoes
  • It relates to actions that can be observed in the real world
  • It is a teleological theory- natural to lookat the consequences of an action
  • It is important to have the greatest happiness for the greatest number

Disadvantages

  • It is impossible to determine the consequences of an action
  • it might take years to discover the consequences of an action
  • THere is no protection for the minority
  • Bentham would allow an evil majority to prevail
  • All pleasures are different - eating a chocolate bar and having a child
  • It can advocate injustice
  • It ignores the importance of duty
  • It is unclear- maximise total or average happiness?
  • It is too impersonal
  • What about pain that is good for us?
  • It is impossible to seek own pleasure and do what is right

Evaluation

Although there are many disadvantages, the advantages are also very important. Whether utilitarianism is a good or a bad theory is for you to decide.

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