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Utilitarianism




"The said truth is that it is the greatest
happiness of the greatest number that is
the measure of right and wrong." Bentham
































Jeremy Bentham
(1748- 1832)

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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…

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The Hedonic Calculus

Bentham had a quantitative approach to utilitarianism. For him it was the amount of
pleasure produced by an action that determined whether it was right or wrong. In order to
calculate the expected pleasure (and pain) from an action Bentham devised the Hedonic
Calculus. He set out…

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Remember to consider pleasure and pain

Criteria If the transplant is done... If the money is spent elsewhere..

Duration





Intensity




Propinquity





Certainty





Purity





Fecundity





Extent












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Bentham's Utilitarianism


Strengths
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
happiness.
Focuses…

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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…

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with both higher and lower pleasures and choose to those who prefer lower
pleasures suffer from, according to 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.…

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

Weaknesses
Is it really possible to know the consequences of our actions?
When do the consequences cease to be the consequences of your
action?
Motive has no importance in utilitarianism so it doesn't…

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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…

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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…

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