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

Year 12 Essay On Utilitarianism

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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.

    It is logical and practical for Bentham to come up with a theory in which everyone strives to act for the most amount of good and the least amount of bad. Anyone would agree that a theory which states that you should always make the decision which would cause less harm than good and pursue good and avoid pain.

  2. Advantages and disadvantages of utilitarianism

    The principle has also been criticised for being impractical. This is because the practical application of the theory requires the ability to predict the long-term consequences of an action but there is never any guarantee that circumstances will turn out exactly the same.

  1. Notes on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty

    there are no specific charities that can claim that I have a distinct and assignable obligation to give them money. One has a distinct and assignable obligation only if someone else has a right that you must fulfill (even a negative right).

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

    The strongest difference between rule and act utilitarianism is that act is a quantitative judgement whereas rule is a qualitative judgement. (b) Utilitarianism may be regarded as a strong ethical theory as there are many strengths to it. It is a practical theory because it is easy to use by

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

    satisfied."3Mill believed in what we call 'act' utilitarianism, this means that each individual act must sum up the consequences that promote the greatest good. Bentham believed in what we call 'rule' utilitarianism, this is where rules are framed that bring about the greatest happiness.

  2. Extended Essay on Bentham's Utilitarianism.

    This is called consequentialism. An action is a posteriori, i.e. if the consequences bring maximum pleasure and minimum pain. 2)

  1. What are the advantages of utilitarianism?

    Its essence is simple - act for 'the greatest good of the greatest number' and seems the logical thing to do. The logic and simplicity, along with the theory's relative approach are helpful in making day-to-day ethical decisions, as the benefits of the theory signify a working morality that can be brought into operation in organisational rather than individual situations.

  2. Does J.S.Mill abandon Utilitarianism?

    There were many problems, which were evident with this doctrine and until Mill came onto the scene with Utilitarianism, which was published in 1863, this was the only way up until then, which people saw utilitarianism. J.S.Mill agreed with many concepts, which Bentham had, and wrote about this in his doctrine on Utilitarianism.

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