Philosophy: The hedonic calculus

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  • Created by: Kieran
  • Created on: 01-04-13 21:54

Writing essays on the Hedonic calculus


  • The hedonic calculus was devised/created by Jeremy Bentham, and is a utilitarian system which ways up the pain and pleasure generated by moral actions to find the best option. 
  • Bentham believed courses of action you take should be determined by considering the probable consequences of each possible act with respect the seven criteria, outlined in the hedonic calculus. Bentham believed that by using these criteria, one could and should calculate which course of action would produce the greatest amount of pleasure and which action would be the right one

First paragraph:

  • The Hedonic calculus consists of seven criteria
  • Intensity, or how strong the pleasure is
  • Duration, how long it will last.
  • Certainty, how likely it is to occur.
  • Propinquity, how near at hand it is
  • Fecundity, its ability to produce still further pleasure.
  • Purity, a pleasure mixed with no pain is the greatest pleasure
  • Extent, the number of people affected by it.

Second paragraph:

  • Whether or not to take drugs, in this instance


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