Utilitarianism (1)

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  • Created by: oyinlola
  • Created on: 08-04-13 17:26

Explain how a Utilitarian might use the hedonic calculus in making moral decisions. Illustrate your answer with reference to any ethical issue(s) of your choice. (Do not choose abortion or euthanasia.)

The hedonic calculus is used to calculate the amount of happiness/pain that will be generated by an action as part of the decision-making process of an act utilitarian. The action that is calculated to produce the greater amount of happiness is deemed the right one. It consists of 7 factors. In outline these are: 

Intensity: stronger happiness is better than weaker;

Duration: longer lasting pleasure is better than brief;

Certainty: An act that will definitely produce pleasure is better than one which only possibly produces pleasure;

Propinquity: the more immediate in space or time the anticipated pleasure, the more relevant it should be to the decision;

Fecundity: a pleasure that leads to more pleasure is of greater…


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