Essay on ACT and rule utilitarianism

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  • Created by: Lottie
  • Created on: 05-05-12 17:42

Utilitarianism is an ethical system whereby an action can be judged to be morally correct if it benefits the majority, for example an action can be judged to be morally correct if it benefits the majority, for example if 100 people wanted one criminal to be killed and only one person did not it would be seen as morally correct to kill the criminal as it is making the majority happy. Utilitarianism was developed from Hedonism which was created in ancient Greece and with Hedonism you are to maximise physical pleasure and minimise physical pain. From this came utilitarianism.

Bentham was philosopher who created his version of Utilitarianism and was later classed as an Act utilitarian. He was concerned about social issues of his time, particularly regarding hospitals and prisons. He wanted an ethical system that would claim that acts that brought benefits to the majority would be correct. So for example, if an innocent patient came in a surgery, Bentham would say it was right to remove his organs in order to save 10 people who needed an organ transplant. He then wanted a way to calculate which action is more ethical than the other so he came up with the Hedonic calculus that contains 7 elements such as intensity, duration and remoteness.

Bentham was later classed as an Act Utilitarian because with every situation you must find the

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