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Bentham is described as a hedonist which means someone who dedicates
their life to the search of pleasure
Bentham thought you could measure pleasure, he devised a chart to
quantify the pain or pleasure caused by an action, called the HEDONIC
CALCULUS ­ he considered the intensity, duration, how certain, how near,
how continuous, how widespread etc
Bentham said that when anyone has to decide on a right or wrong course
of action, they ask themselves `what is the most useful thing to do in this
situation?' What they are weighing up is which path will lead them to the
greatest pleasure, he called this the PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY
Usually referred to as `Act Utilitarianism'…read more

Slide 3

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Provides a clear method of deciding any course of action by balancing
pleasure and pain which makes it easy to compare different options
A popular approach to ethics because people do seek pleasure and avoid
Looks at the consequences of an action
Common sense is involved, accessible to everyone…read more

Slide 4

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Too much emphasis on pleasure
Does not distinguish between different sorts of pleasures
What is pleasure for one person may not be for another, and may indeed
cause pain
Hedonic calculus is not easy to apply
Relies on accurately predicting the consequences of an action, which isn't
always possible
Minority views are ignored…read more

Slide 5

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Referred to as `Rule Utilitarianism'
He views pleasures as having quality, so he sought to improve on Bentham's
utilitarianism by bringing in `higher' and `lower' pleasures
Higher pleasures include things like reading poetry and anything that stimulates
the brain
Lower pleasures are things like sex, eating and drinking, they please the body
instead of the mind
Instead of the `greatest good for the greatest number' (Bentham), Mill was more
bothered about happiness
Mill tried to define utilitarianism in a way that made it practical to use when
creating rules for society, he believed that a society had to have general rules
arrived at by utilitarian reasoning, in order to operate…read more

Slide 6

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Bentham's utilitarianism offered a straightforward approach to arriving at
moral decisions with one simple rule, the principle of utility. It is referred to
as `Strong Utilitarianism' because Bentham insisted the principle must be
adhered to without exceptions
Mill's `Weak Utilitarianism' took a more flexible approach, accepting there
might be occasions when it was necessary to break the principle if the
consequences of an action were harmful…read more

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