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Jeremy Bentham devised the theory of utilitarianism. He was an English thinker
who worked on legal reform in Georgian times. He wrote `The principles of
morals and legislation' (1789). His Theory has been the philosophical basis for
government in many parts of today's world. His intentions for a fairer society
are obvious in his theory.
Utilitarianism can be said to be a hedonistic theory (from the Greek Hedone,
meaning pleasure). Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure.…read more

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Remember to consider pleasure and pain
Criteria If the transplant is done... If the money is spent elsewhere..…read more

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Bentham's Utilitarianism
It is Egalitarian - the moral view that everyone should be treated
equally. No one person's pleasure is more valued than any others.
It provides people with a decision making procedure- how do they
know what is right in any given situation? Seek to maximise
Focuses on the well being of Human beings ­ encouraging people to
be kind to others
It emphasises Happiness ­ which according to many ethicists is
common sense.…read more

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Which is the most problematic weakness of Bentham's Utilitarianism?
Give reasons for your answer.
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart mill was a peer of Bentham's. He agreed that the moral
behaviour should seek to maximise happiness, but he made some
important developments to Bentham's utilitarianism. He sought in
particular to address the absence of Justice in Utilitarianism so far.
Higher and Lower Pleasures
Mill made the distinction between different types of pleasure that was
absent in Bentham's version.…read more

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Mill, an `infirmity of character'.
Rule utilitarianism
Mill's version of Utilitarianism can be described as RULE utilitarianism
­ though Mill did not use this term ­ it was a name given later.
Precisely because we do not have the time to calculate accurately in
every instance (as required by the hedonic calculus), he supposed,
we properly allow our actions to be guided by moral rules most of the time.…read more

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Strengths and Weaknesses of Mill's Utilitarianism
Most of the weaknesses of Bentham's utilitarianism are shared by Mill.…read more

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Preference Utilitarianism
Preference Utilitarianism is a modern form of Utilitarianism.
An Act utilitarian judges right or wrong according to the maximising of
pleasure and minimising of pain,
A Rule utilitarian judges right or wrong according to the keeping of
rules derived from utility, but
A Preference utilitarian judges moral actions according to whether
they fit in with the preferences of the individuals involved.…read more

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Because Preference utilitarianism holds that the good is preference
satisfaction, i.e. getting what we want, and that the bad is the opposite,
i.e. not getting what we want, we must seek what it is people would
prefer. People may be mistaken about what will make them happy. It may
be I think that going to the pub and downing six pints of lager will make me
happy, but that I would actually be happier staying at home and reading
philosophy.…read more


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