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What Is Utilitarianism?
Jeremy Bentham was one of the founders of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the basic
principle that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its utility or
Utilitarianism comes in different forms as coming philosophers have developed the theory.
Bentham was one of the originators of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory
which is teleological which means that it stresses that an action is right or wrong
depending on its intended outcome `The End Justifies The Means'.
Pain and Pleasure; Bentham calls these the sovereign masters and it is what his theory of
utilitarianism is based upon.
The rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by the amount of pleasure an
action brings; `Maximising Pleasure and Minimising Pain' also known as The Principle of
Bentham's Utilitarianism is qualitative because you `Measure Pleasure'. Hedoné is the
Greek work for Pleasure; He uses a Hedonic Calculus to calculate whether an action is
right or wrong. The morality of an action is determined after the following factors are
Duration - How Long Does It Last?
Intensity - How Intense Is It?
Remoteness/Propinquity - How Near Is It?
Certainty - How Sure Are We That It Will Come?
Purity - How Free From Pain Is It?
Richness/Fecundity - How Much Will It Lead To More Pleasure?
Extent - How Widely Does It Cover?
Act Utilitarianism is a form of Utilitarianism which states that the rightness or wrongness of
acts is calculated by the amount of happiness resulting from those acts.
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If Act Is Good Lots Of Happiness Then... The Act Is Good
If Act Is Good No Happiness Then... The Act Is Bad
If Act Is Bad Lots Of Happiness Then... The Act Is Good
If Act Is Bad No Happiness Then... The Act Is Bad
John Stuart Mill
`It is better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates
dissatisfied than a fool satisfied'
Mill was a child prodigy.…read more
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Modern day ethicist Peter Singer devised another form of utilitarianism, called preference
utilitarianism or best consequence utilitarianism,
Singers' form of utilitarianism states that our ethical decisions should benefit the best
interests of those affected rather than create the most pleasure.
What matters the most in preference utilitarianism is the satisfaction of an individual's
interest or desires. Every ones interest must be given the same consideration; no one
person's desires can outweigh another's.…read more