• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Utilitarianism theory was developed first by Jeremy Bentham. His student John Stuart Mill who is the most famous Utilitarian then took on this theory.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Utilitarianism. The principle of Utilitarianism 'greatest happiness of the greatest number' can be traced back to Frances Hutchinson and David Hume of Scotland in the 18th century. Utilitarianism theory was developed first by Jeremy Bentham. His student John Stuart Mill who is the most famous Utilitarian then took on this theory. America had fought for and gained their independence from the British to obtain their freedom and greater democracy. The Declaration of independence of the 13 colonies, action of the second continental congress of July 4th 1776. The French revolution had its English admirers of its principles. Human rights had become a real issue and the greater demand for democracy was heard; reform was seen to be much needed. When it came to the principles, which might guide the reforms, among the clearest and strongest was the single principle of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism has penetrated deeply into the national moral consciousness and tends to be the way the majority judge the righteousness and wrongness of their actions. ...read more.

Middle

of the party whose interest is in question: or, what is the same thing in other words, to promote or to oppose that happiness. I say of every action whatsoever; and therefore not, only of every action of a private individual, but of ever measure of Government" Bentham (1789) An action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number where the greatest good is the greatest pleasure or happiness and the least pain or sadness and the greatest number is the majority of people. Good is the maximisation of pleasure and the minimisation of pain. His theory is democratic because the pleasure can't be for one person alone. Jeremy Bentham designed the Hedonic Calculus. The calculus weighs up the pain and pleasure generated. 1. Its Intensity (or the Intensity of the pleasure as a consequence of the action) 2. Its duration (The duration of pleasure (I.e. how long it lasts - the longer the better)) ...read more.

Conclusion

Mill accepted the Utility Principle of the greatest good for the greatest number. Mill maintained that the pleasure of the mind were higher than that of the body. When confronted with a choice that of the mind is to be preferred. " It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied" Mill Act Utilitarianism maintains that, whenever possible, the principle of Utility must be directly applied for each individual situation. Act Utilitarianism has the benefit of flexibility, being able to take that into account individual situations at a given moment although the actions that it justifies can change. This form of Utilitarianism is associated with Jeremy Bentham. Rule Utilitarianism focuses on general rules that everyone should follow to bring about the greatest good for that community. Rule Utilitarianism establishes the best overall rule by determine the course of action which, when pursued by the whole community leads to the best result. Rule Utilitarianism is associated with John Stuart Mill. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Advantages and disadvantages of utilitarianism

    Utilitarianism can be further criticised for assuming that most people are good, this leads to evil being justified. For example, if a woman was jogging through a park and came across a gang of men who raped her. Utilitarianism justifies their actions as the men's pleasure being far greater than

  2. A Study of Carl Rogers' Theory of Personality

    He/she is seen as completely genuine and integrated, unified in experience, awareness and communication. Distorted perceptions from conditions of worth cause our departure from this integration. There is some empirical support for the hypothesis that congruence between self and experience leads to better personality adjustment and less defensiveness (Chodorkoff, 1954; cited in Rogers, 1959).

  1. Is political theory useful?

    politician to be successful it is not necessary to be the best skilled to rule the people, but it is necessary to bring happiness and good to people by being able to represent most of them. John Stuart Mill puts it best: 'The ideally best form of government, it is

  2. John Stuart Mill was the son of a philosopher who worked with Jeremy Bentham. ...

    Certain areas of Bentham's theory proved to be problematic when trying to apply it to real life situations. The common example of this is supposing you were a doctor driving to give a patient an emergency Caesarian section, but you see an old man and the woman's husband in a car crash together.

  1. Year 12 Essay On Utilitarianism

    There are a number of difficulties with utilitarianism. Firstly, we cannot categorize actions that are good. One action that is deemed good by someone might not be thought of as a good action by different person. For example; "Claire's mum has a new hair cut Claire hates it, but tells her she likes it anyway".

  2. M-theory is a solution proposed for the unknown theory of everything

    that it includes a calculation of the entropy of black holes; and (3) that it is a viable gravity-only alternative to string theory. However, these claims are not universally accepted. While many of the core results are rigorous mathematical physics, their physical interpretations are speculative.

  1. The relationship between censorship and student publications by specifically drawing on the Rabelais case

    The advocacy of law breaking falls outside this protection and is antithetical to it. 10 However, the argument brought forward by his Honour is severely flawed. The knowledge needed to draw political comparisons from the works of Tolstoy, Thoreau and Ghandi lies in the mere fact that the writings of

  2. Notes on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty

    a minority to be dangerous or harmful to those who practice it, and so they pass laws to ban those practices. For example, the majority of people in the US are heterosexuals, and many of this majority believe that homosexuality is a sin, and is harmful (at least morally)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work