Bentham's Act Utilitarianism
Jeremy Betham developed Act Utiliatarianism in his book
'An introduction to the principles of morals and legalisation 1879'
He believed our main aim in life is to achieve happiness and avoid pain
key quote- ' Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign matster pain and please'
Relativistic theory - no universal moral norms each situation looked at independently
Consequentialist theory - moral judgements based on the outcome
Telelogical theory -concerned with end goal which should always be happines
principle of utility - The greatest happines for the greatest number
hedonic calculs - means of measuring happiness
Bentham was a hedonist, hedone means pleasure in greek
intensity - how strong is the happiness
duration- how long does the happiness last for
certainity- how sure can you be that the act will produce happiness
extent - how many people will receive the happiness
remoteness- how close in time is the happiness
richness- how likely is this happiness to lead to further happiness
purity- how free from pain is the act
bentham was concerned with quantity
Mill believed that quality of pleasure more important than quantity. He saw a major flaw in bentham theory mill was concerned that one person's unhappiness could be overlooked if majority were happy
Higher pleasure- pleasures of the intellect or mind are superior. e.g reading
lower pleasure- pleasure of the body are inferior e.g physical pleasure sex & eating
Key Quote:' it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied'
Rule Utilatarianism - by using the principle of utility you can draw up general rules based on past experience which would help you to keep the principle.
strong rule - believes an rule created using the principle should never be broken
weak rule - principle of utility can be broken in extreme cases to achieve happiness
To what extent is utilitarianism compatible with c
- encourages people to not be selfish christianity teaches ' love your neighbour as you lvoe yourself'
- strong rule utilatiarianism and christians believe in absolutist and deontological rudes eg ten commandments
- jesus self sacrifice is an example of principle of utility he died to give other happiness
- a utilitarian ultimate goal is happines in religon based upon making people happy by establishing the right relationship with God.
- rules are based on any divine comand
- humans made in God image thereofre all humans deserve equal treatment
- utiliatarians based on secular ethical theory. christians based moral system in belief in God
- goal is to do God will not achieve happiness
- christianity absolutist. utiliatrianism is relativistic
strengths and weakness
- act utilatarianism is pragmatic and concentrates on the effectss of an action
- happiness is important for many people in decision making
- theory treats everyone the same noone gets special treatments
- simple to follow
- can calculate happiness
- relies on human ability to predict consequencces which is impossible
- happiness is subjective
- fails to consider we have obligations toward other
- hedonic calculus is impractical