Jeremy Bentham Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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Category: Utilitarianism

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Introduction: Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its utility in providing happiness or pleasure as summed among all sentient beings. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. The most influential contributors to this ideology were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism is often described by the phrase the greatest good for the greatest number of people[1], and is also known as the greatest happiness principle.

Utility, the good to be maximized, has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), although preference utilitarians define it as the satisfaction of preferences. It may be described as a life stance, with happiness or pleasure being of ultimate importance. Utilitarianism can be characterised as a quantitative and reductionist approach to ethics. It can be contrasted with deontological ethics (which do not regard the consequences of an act as being a determinant of its moral worth) and virtue ethics (which focuses on character), as well as with other varieties of consequentialism.

In general usage, the term utilitarian refers to a somewhat narrow economic or pragmatic viewpoint. Philosophical utilitarianism, however, is a much broader view that encompasses all aspects of peoples lives. Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering. Classic utilitarianism, as advocated by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, is hedonistic.

It is now generally taken to be a form of consequentialism, although when Anscombe first introduced that term it was to distinguish between old-fashioned Utilitarianism and consequentialism. According to utilitarianism the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, although there is debate over how much consideration should be given to actual consequences, foreseen consequences and intended consequences. Two influential contributors to this theory are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

In A Fragment on Government, Bentham says, it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrongand describes this as a fundamental axiom. In An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, he talks of the principle of utility but later prefers the greatest happiness principle. Body: Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering.

Classic utilitarianism, as advocated by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, is hedonistic. It is now generally taken to be a form of consequentialism, although when Anscombe first introduced that term it was to distinguish between old-fashioned Utilitarianism and consequentialism. According to utilitarianism the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, although there is debate over how much consideration should be given to actual consequences, foreseen consequences and intended consequences.

Two influential contributors to this theory are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. In A Fragment on Government, Bentham says, it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrongand describes this as a fundamental axiom. In An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, he talks of the principle of utility but later prefers the greatest happiness principle. Utilitarianism can be characterized as a quantitative and reductionist approach to ethics.

It is a type of naturalism. It can be contrasted with deontological ethics, which does not regard the consequences of an act as a determinant of its moral worth; virtue ethics,[8] which primarily focuses on acts and habits leading to happiness; pragmatic ethics; as well as with ethical egoism and other varieties of consequentialism. Utilitarianism has often been considered the natural ethic of a democracy operating by simple majority without protection of individual rights.

The importance of happiness as an end for humans has long been recognized. Forms of hedonism were put forward by Aristippus and Epicurus; Aristotle argued that eudaimonia is the highest human good and Augustine wrote that all men agree in desiring the last end, which is happiness. Happiness was also explored in depth by Aquinas. However, utilitarianism as a distinct ethical position only emerged in the eighteenth century.

In comparing the moral qualitys of actions, in order to regulate our election among various actions proposed, or to find which of them has the greatest moral excellency, we are led by our moral sense of virtue to judge thus; that in equal degrees of happiness, expected to proceed from the action, the virtue is in proportion to the number of persons to whom the happiness shall extend (and here the dignity, or moral importance of persons, may compensate numbers); and in equal numbers, the virtue is as the quantity of the happiness, or natural good; or that the virtue is in a compound ratio of the quantity of good, and number of enjoyers.

In the same manner, the moral evil, or vice, is as the degree of misery, and number of sufferers; so that, that action is best, which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers; and that, worst, which, in like manner, occasions misery. Conclusion: Therefore Act and rule utilitarians differ in how they treat human rights themselves. Under rule utilitarianism, a human right can easily be considered a moral rule.

Act utilitarians, on the other hand, do not accept human rights as moral principles in and of themselves, but that does not mean that they reject them altogether: first, most act utilitarians, as explained above, would agree that acts such as enslavement and genocide always cause great unhappiness and very little happiness; second, human rights could be considered rules of thumb so that, although torture might be acceptable under some circumstances, as a rule it is immoral; and, finally, act utilitarians often support human rights in a legal sense because utilitarians support laws that cause more good than harm.

Findings: Apart from restating that happiness as an end is grounded in the nature of God ,Utilitarians argue that justification of slavery, torture or mass murder would require unrealistically large benefits to outweigh the direct and extreme suffering to victims. Utilitarianism would also require the indirect impact of social acceptance of inhumane policies to be taken into consideration, and general anxiety and fear could increase for all if human rights are commonly ignored.

Recommendations: Furthermore I would recommend that we must consider our individual differences because every human being deserves their own rights, we are just an ordinary person which can make extra ordinary things in terms of happiness Reference: * www. google. com utilitarian theory * www. bing. com utilitarian * www. yahoo. com utilitarian of human rights * Webster dictionary meaning of utilitarian.

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