Utilitarianism ETHICS PRINTED

  • Created by: emmalum
  • Created on: 06-03-19 09:09


Utilitarianism is the greatest good for the greatest number

Act utilitarianism- Things that maximise happiness (like having a takeaway every now and again)

Rule utilitarianism- Always abiding by the same rules (like always eating healthy to live longer)

Phillippa Foot- If there were 5 people on one track and one person on the other, you would put the trolley on the track with the least people on to save the most lives.

Application to nuclear war and animal testing

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Bentham and the hedonic calculus


  • 1748-1832
  • his book was called 'a fragment of government'

The hedonic calculus was created by Bentham and had 7 features:

  • Intensity (how strong)
  • Duration (how long)
  • Propinquity (how soon)
  • Fecundity (other pleasures)
  • Certainty (how likely)
  • Purity (how good)
  • Extent (how many)
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Mill and higher and lower pleasures


  • A student of bentham
  • Rejected the simplicity of Bentham's work, calling him a child

Higher and lower pleasures

Higher pleasures are things that help develop you as a person such as reading a book whereas lower pleasures are only temporary happiness such as eating a bar of chocolate.

"It is better to be a human satisfied than a pig satisfied"

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Strengths and weaknesses


  • It is easy for anyone to use
  • It is for the greatest good
  • It is democratic


  • Unpredictable
  • Tyranny of the majority (the most common thing isn't always the best)
  • Cannot measure pleasure properly
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