Utilitarianism

Act Utilitarianism, proposed by scholar Jeremy Betham 

Then further developed by John Stuart Mill, creating Rule Utilitarianism

R.M Hare and Peter Singer then developed the theory again, creating Preference Utilitarianism

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Utilitarianism
Put foward by Jeremy Bentham, a teleological theory meaning it looks foward to the consequences of an act.
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Act Utilitarianism
If in a situation where lying provides greater good, then you should lie. ACT Utilitarians have to provide the most pleasure.
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Divided in to 3 parts
Motivation | Principle of utility | Hedonic Calculus
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Motivation
As humans we are motivated by seeking pleasure and hoping to avoid pain "Pain and pleasure are the 2 sovereign masters" Pain being the sole evil and pleasure being the sole good.
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Principle of Utility
Bentham felt that the 'rightness' of an act is determined by how useful the act would be. (Hence it being teleological) An act is determined by the ends it brings, if it has good conseqences it is right.
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Principle of Utility Cont.
Due to pleasure being the moral rule, "An action is right if it provides the greatest good for the greatest number"
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Hedonic Calculus
Used to measure the pain and pleasure an act would cause
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Intensity
How dep the pleasure/pain would be. Mild pleasure is less valuable than intense pleasure.
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Duration
How long the pain/pleasure would last, transicent pleasure is less valuable than lasting pleasure.
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Certainty
How certain you are that pleasure/pain would result from the act.
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Propinquity
How far or close the pleasure is, the less weight we should give them in making our decision
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Fecundity
How likely is it that the pain/pleasure would reoccur
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Purity
Pain and pleasure have to be unmixed to have a a higher purness
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Extent
How far the pain/pleasure would affect others (Greatest good, greatest number.)
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CASE STUDY - Train/Trolley Problem
You are in conrol of a train - 2 directions to chose, one way there is one person the other five people - either leave the train to kill the five or pull the lever to kill one - GREATEST GOOD FOR GREATEST NO-PULL THE LEAVER FOR ONE PERSON
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CASE STUDY - Jim & the Indians
B. Williams - Jim comes across guards holding 20 Indians, he could kill one and the other nineteen would be set free or all of them could be killed - GREATEST GOOD FO RTHE GREATEST NUMBER-KILL ONE
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Strengths of Bentham's ACT Utilitarianism
Flexible takes everything into account | Common sense theory, no knoeldge needed | natural to follow- avoid pain and maximise pleasure | natural to look at the consequences
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Weaknesses of Bentham's ACT Utilitarianism
Too personal, could justify anything with a reason | impractical, too time consuming | Can not predict future
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CASE STUDY - The moral of the story
Nina Rosenstand - A family go on holiday & ask a neighbour to look after the house, before they arrived the neighbour turned on the fire to make sure they came home to a warm house, where in fac *** burned down. Can not predict the future consequence
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John Stuart Mill - Rule Utilitarianism
Was concerned in Bentham's quantitve theory, allows a individual to much power & can justify anything | Mill replaced quantity of pleasure with qualititve of pleasure
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Qualititve Pleasures
HIgh Pleasures - Pleasures of the mind, opera | Low Pleasures - Pleasures of the body, alcohol
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Qualitive Pleasures - Quote
"It is better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied" | should focus on higher pleasures, to increase human nature
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Strong Rule Utilitarianism
Follows all rules despite the situation
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Weak Rule Utilitarianism
In some circumstances breaks the rules for the greater good of the consequences
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CASE STUDY-Maniac in the shop
A manic chases someone into your shop and asks you where they went - do you lie and say you don't know or tell the truth?
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Peter Singer & R.M Hare
Argues that what we might be mistaken by what makes us happy, we should chose our actions by what we prefer
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Preference Utilitarianism
"choose the course which brings about the best consequences, on balance, for all affected' Meaning everyone who would be affected should be taken into consideration equally
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Utilitarianism and Religion
Principle of Utility & Jesus Teachings | Rule Utilitarianism & 10 C's |
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Issues Arising: Questions on Pain & Pleasure
It is hard to weigh up pain VS pleasure. Pain can be good as it leads to something more pleasurable. Sports training and childbirth is painful but leads to worthwhile pleasure | Pain is a reminder to look after ourselves, i.e when injured |
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Issues Arising: Does not consider other opinions
Assumes that pain and pleausre is the same for everyone
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Issues Arising: Minimise Pain
Karl Popper - We should aim to minimise pain rather than maximise pleasure [NOTE: Maximising pleasure & minimising pain are the same?]
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Issues Arising: Negative Utilitarianism
We should aim for no pain, yet we could destory the world by preventing suffering as we wouldn't understand pleasure
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Applying ACT Utilitarianism: IVF
Should a couple have IVF, risking painful disapointment. But does the potential pleasure outweigh the potential pain?
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

If in a situation where lying provides greater good, then you should lie. ACT Utilitarians have to provide the most pleasure.

Back

Act Utilitarianism

Card 3

Front

Motivation | Principle of utility | Hedonic Calculus

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

As humans we are motivated by seeking pleasure and hoping to avoid pain "Pain and pleasure are the 2 sovereign masters" Pain being the sole evil and pleasure being the sole good.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Bentham felt that the 'rightness' of an act is determined by how useful the act would be. (Hence it being teleological) An act is determined by the ends it brings, if it has good conseqences it is right.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
View more cards

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