• 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. Explain Bentham's version of Utilitarianism.

    Utilitarianism allows us to balance situations out; to take a lot of thought into a decision, which would intern stop, us from making foolish decisions. It offers a democratic solution, which encourages general happiness, it is a completely unselfish theory, since it has to be the greatest amount of good

  2. 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

  1. 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)

  2. A Study of Carl Rogers' Theory of Personality

    constructive choices as to the next steps in life, and acting on those choices". This illustrates a belief in agency and free will. While humans behave rationally, Rogers (1961, p.195) maintains that: "The tragedy for most of us is that our defenses keep us from being aware of this rationality

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

    Bentham's theory states that an action that will produce the most happiness is the justified decision, using the hedonic calculus, and does not allow for the action to be morally inexcusable. The example of this would be the sadistic guards who enjoy torturing a prisoner, which would be producing happiness

  2. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    Ways need to be found to lower the valence of three additional and ubiquitous factors that impinge on public-sector organizations and perhaps on the private-sector organizations as well. One is the hostility that is certain to be directed against any information, however objective it may be, that threatens existing distributional arrangements.

  1. What are the main features of utilitarianism as an ethical theory (10) Examine and ...

    actions are good or bad on the way they make us feel. However, there are flaws in this; such as the fact that it misunderstands happiness, happiness is a response we have to actions, this is very different to deciding what to do to make us happy, and then deliberately doing so, making it merely a means to an end.

  2. Is political theory useful?

    but still many rulers are just as foxes and lions like the author describes. Many so called 'democratic' countries leaders are afraid of the USA and the EU, and because of that they behave like foxes if not sheep with those countries, while they are lions in their own countries.

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