• Created by: *23
  • Created on: 06-05-19 18:49



  • Utility - Concept of utility in teleological and relativistic approaches

  • Hedonic calculus - Bentham - What it is and use of it as measure of individual pleasure

  • Act utilitarianism - Bentham - What it is and use of promoting good/pleasure over evil  

  • Rule utilitarianism - Mill - What it is and use in promoting common good.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) - Social and legalistic reformer/ British political philosopher

Book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation 1789

  • Wanted to create a system of right and wrong - to benefit all society.

  • He believed that the most useful thing in a moral dilemma is happiness - leads people to make the right ethical decisions.

  • ( Measures happiness in a quantitative approach)

  • Principle of Utility = Maximize pleasure + minimize pain = usefulness of the results of actions.

  • Empirical observation - people desire pleasure and seek to avoid pain.

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pleasures and pain. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do…

                                                                                                             ~ Bentham

  • Hedonic calculus= helpful to determine how to measure different amounts of pleasure.

Hedonic Calculus (Help us choose the good thing to do and work out the possible consequences of an action)

Purity - How free from pain is it?

Remoteness - How near is it?

Richness - To what extent will it lead to other pleasures?

Intensity  - How powerful is it?

Certainty - How likely it is to result in pleasure

Extent - How many people does it affect?

Duration - How long will it last?

  • May justify euthanasia,abortion or even infanticide where child's arrival = great harm for many.


  1. John Stuart Mill - Bentham treated all pleasures as of equal value e,g. Playing candy crush = poetry.

  2. Kant and others argue that a meaningful moral theory must have some rules = universible

  3. Can a theory


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