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  • Created by: nicole
  • Created on: 11-11-15 15:32

Which is more important- the ending of pain and su


  • If pain is great.
  • if pain is to be long term and there is no sight of pleasure
  • the quality of pleasure may be poor, eg. 'lower', and so not worth pursuing.
  • If one is already content, why increase contentment at the expense f suffering? this is morally wrong. for example, just because many people are well fed does not mean we should continue to leave the beggar to starve.


  • suffering of the few may lead to happiness of the majority eg. a just war.
  • if pain is minimal and the impact of pleasure far supersedes the pain. eg. allowing torture to save lives
  • depends upon the long- term potential, which may be tp allow immediate suffering for greater pleasure later.
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arguments in support of and against the pursuit of


  • higher pleasure are noble 
  • spiritual and intellectual happiness is important 
  • happiness is important for complete mental health 
  • life is to be enjoyed and not 'suffered' 
  • all nobles religious and non religious ideals seek some form of satisfaction. 


  • it happiness or pleasure a valid aim ?
  • depends upon the nature of the happiness 
  • does it seem rather self indulgent?
  • what about when pain can be good for you? example the pain associated with hard work or exercise? 
  • preference utilitarianism. 
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How compatible is utilitarianism with religious ap


  • Situation ethics is similar to act utilitarianism, with mill's refinement of happiness found in the principle of agape. 
  • the idea of sacrifising for others is common to many religious traditions 
  • the buddhist ideal is to avoid suffering and involves accumulating positive kamma/karma.
  • the idea of conscience can be related to the calculations of the best outcome. 

Not compatible 

  • Utilitarianism is agaisnt the idea of divinely ordained moral codes 
  • it is against the ideals of natural moral law as adopted by the roman catholic tradition. 
  • the idea of the means to an end when it involves people can challenge beliefs about the sanctity of life. 
  • 'means to an end' can be seen to be lacking in compassion. 
  • what about the religious teachings that concerns support of the weak? 
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