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Utilitarianism
Learning Objectives:-
(long term)
1. To understand the `greatest happiness principle'.
2. To understand the similarities and differences
between Bentham and Mill.
3. Understand the distinction between Act and Rule
Utilitarianism.
4. Discuss how appropriate these labels are for
Bentham and Mill.
5. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of
Utilitarianism.…read more

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This lesson's objectives are...
· To understand the principle of
utility.
· To be able to explain the
significance of the hedonic calculus.
· To be confident with Jeremy
Bentham's utilitarianism theory.
· To understand what `Act
Utilitarianism' means.…read more

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Utilitarianism- Key Points
Brief Intro...
· A teleological theory. But, what does this
mean?
· Teleological theories look at the
consequences- the results of an action-
to decide whether it is right or wrong.
· Consequentialist theory- someone who
decides whether an action is good or bad
by its consequences.…read more

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Jeremy Bentham
· He was concerned with
social and legal reform &
he wanted to develop an
ethical theory which
established whether
something was good or
bad according to its
benefit for the majority
of people.
· He called this the
principle of utility.
· Utility= the usefulness
of the results of actions.…read more

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Bentham...
· Bentham equated happiness with pleasure and the
absence of pain.
· This was an empirical observation - people desire
pleasure and seek to avoid pain.
· His scientific mind led him to believe that the study of
ethics could be undertaken in a practical way, carefully
measuring the possible consequences or outcomes of an
action before deciding which choice to take.
· Bentham's theories led to extensive social reform
affecting Parliament, criminal law, the jury system, prisons,
savings banks, cheap postage etc, etc.
· What was revolutionary about Bentham's theory was that it
resulted in all people being considered when making laws.
His hedonic calculus was especially helpful in determining
how to measure different amounts of pleasure.…read more

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