WJEC AS Religious Studies- Utilitarianism PT.1 Bentham

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Jeremy Bentham 1748-1832 (18th century).

Bentham was concerned about social condition in the world he lived in- England 18th century. He believed that rules and religion were not the way to provide the best outcome for most people who were the poor in England. 

Although Bentham was not the first one to think about the value of happiness when making ethical decision, he is crdited for developing the idea that all decisions should be made to mazimise happiness for the greatest number of people by thinking about the consequences of our actions. 

Bentham's Act Utilitarianism:

Act Utilitarinanism looks at individual situations and decides that an action is moral or right according to whater it creates the "GREATEST HAPPINESS FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER" - which is known as the greatest happiness principle or GHP. 


Utilitarian's argue that everyone should do the most useful thing. The most useful thing to Bentham and his supporters is always the action that results in the most happiness for the most people. In other words, the Principle of Utility, which states that an action is right if it produces the "greatest happiness for the greates number" (SUPER IMPORTANT).

Bentham's type of utilitarianism is only concerned with the outcome or consequences of an action, not the action or the quality of the action itself.

Ethical decision making from a utilitarian viewpoint works as follows. It assesses whether the action or behavuour


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