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Year 12 Essay On Utilitarianism

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Charlotte Betting Year 12 Essay On Utilitarianism a) What are the key features of Utilitarianism And b) Identify the problems of Utilitarianism to what extent do they make Utilitarianism unacceptable? Jeremy Bentham founded Utilitarianism. He lived at a time of great change. With revolutions in France and America, demands were being made for human rights and greater democracy. Bentham worked on legal reform. Utilitarianism is associated with the principle of utility. Utility means the amount of satisfaction or pleasure that somebody gains from consuming a commodity, product, or service, i.e.; useful. The hedonic calculus, which is his system for measuring how good or bad a consequence is: At the time Bentham put forward the theory it was instrumental. It changed the way society was run and the way society now thinks for the better. It dramatically made changes to the poverty in Britain positively. Theories that are interested in the ends are known as teleological. Telos is Greek for the end. Therefore teleological means that the ends justify the means, utilitarianism follows this rule. Utilitarianism is the greatest goodness for the greatest number of people. ...read more.


However, while John Stuart Mill agrees with Bentham's fundamental principles and approves of his method he maintains that the well-being of the individual was of greatest important and that pleasure or happiness is best when individuals are free to pursue their own ends, including rules and laws that protect the common good of all. Simply Mill believed that the more freedom people have, the happier they will be. Mill believed we should all be free to go after our own happiness as long as our attempts to be happy don't interfere with the happiness of others. An example of this could be; the richest man with all the physical pleasures he wants, but at the same time be the unhappiest man in the world by not being mentally stimulated. Mill believed quality rather than quantity was paramount. He claims 'It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied". The lower pleasures are less important than the higher pleasures. An example is "casual sex, compared to making love". According to his theory making love should be better than casual sex because it contains emotion and is more mind-stimulating. ...read more.


Fourthly, we have profound difficulties concerning justice. Despite the fact that utilitarianism is maximum pleasure result it doesn't consider the actions taken. It gives the maximum pleasure for most people; however it doesn't consider the minorities as they are not the greatest number. A negative example of utilitarianism is Nazi Germany. It is the good for the greatest number of people, but it doesn't ensure the happiness for minorities such as Jews. Utilitarianism could justify horrendous acts one being racism. Another difficulty is classing what happiness is. It is based on people's common agreement about what is pleasure and what is pain. There are problems concerning what some people would consider pleasurable and what others would consider not pleasurable. Problems arise such as taste in music, hobbies and beliefs. In conclusion Utilitarianism has its political benefits, but is not clear enough with some aspects. It doesn't show what is unacceptable in utilitarianism. Utilitarianism doesn't have the flexibility of considering individual circumstances and moral values have no consideration in this theory. Utilitarianism is focused on quantity rather than quality. It seems rather a simple theory 'the greatest good, for the greatest number of people', however when you delve into the theory it becomes rather too complicated. For people to live by a theory it needs to be simple and clear. ...read more.

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