Utilitarianism: Jeremy Bentham

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  • Created by: Bridie
  • Created on: 02-04-11 20:18

Utilitarianism is Teleological, not Doentological

  • Ethical theories that concentrate on moral rules that can't be broken are Deontological (inportant thing is not the result/consequence, but the action it's self, if it's said to be wrong, don't do it.) e.g. "You should never kill" The end never justifies the means.
  • Teleological (From the Greek word - telos, meaning "end")
  • For a Teleological ethical thinker the end NEVER justifies the means. You decide the rightness/wrongness of an action by the end it produces. (the most good produced by an end a is morally better end.
  • Utilitarianism is the most famous Teleological ethical theory, Betham devised the theory as a way to measure how good or bad a consequence is.

The theory of Utilitarianism

We can divide his theory into three parts: His view on what drove human beings (pleasure and pain), The principle of Utility (the moral rule) and The Hedonic calculus (the system for measuring how good/bad a consequence is).

The Motivation of Human beings

  • He maintained that Human beings were motivated my pleasure and pain
  • "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure"
  • All human beings pursued pleasure(sole good) and sought to avoid pain (sole evil). (moral fact)

The Principle of Utility

  • The rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by it's usefulness
  • Usefulness refers to the amount of pleasure or happiness caused…


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