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

Examine how Benthams utilitarianism may be applied to one ethical issue of your choice. Organ transplants.

Extracts from this document...


Examine how Bentham's utilitarianism may be applied to one ethical issue of your choice. I will examine how Bentham's utilitarianism would be applied in terms of organ transplantation. Utilitarian's believe that humans are motivated by the pursuit to maximise happiness and minimise pain, which is called a hedonist view. Utilitarianism is an ethical principle, a philosophical system which takes into account consequences of an action rather than motives, where the happiness of the greatest number should be the result, as it is therefore morally right. Jeremy Bentham's understanding of the utilitarian principle is called Act Utilitarianism. His approach states that the rightness or wrongness of an individual act is calculated by the amount of happiness that results from the act. His view is also a hedonist view, which proposes that the main good is pleasure, whilst the main evil is pain. He therefore proposed that all humans pursue the maximisation of pleasure and minimisation of pain. Bentham believed in the greatest good for the greatest number, and believed that quantity (rather than Mills belief in quality) played the main role in deciding whether and act was good or not, as the one providing most pleasure for most people, whilst providing least or no pain, is seen as the best choice by Bentham. ...read more.


After all criteria are added, the act that brings about the most points (most pleasure) will be seen as morally right. Transplantation is the removal one of organ from an organism, and placing it into another. There are 3 types of organ transplantation that I will examine, which are Live Donor (from a living person), Cadaver (from a dead person) and Xenotransplantation (from an animal). Live Donor transplantation - Bentham agrees with Live Donor transplantation, whether the donor able to give consent or not. If the donor volunteers to donate an organ, Bentham would believe that if everything goes quickly and correctly, the pleasure will be felt soon (remoteness), will happen (certainty) and will be greatly felt (intensity) by the receiver, because it will allow him/her to lead a better life and be happy. This will also be true for the donor as s/he will know that they did a good deed saving someone's life. If there are no side effects, the pleasure will have a longer duration if it keeps reproducing itself (fecundity) and remain a pleasure (purity). Also, a lot of people will be happy, as both families will be happy, firstly the receivers family, and the donors family due to his generosity. ...read more.


Lastly, Bentham is for xenotransplantation, as it would create the greatest good for greatest number of humans, and is therefore morally correct. As the pleasure will be felt soon (remoteness), will definitely happen (certainty) and will be greatly felt (intensity) by the receiver, it should be pursued as it will allow for better life thus more happiness presuming the pleasure will keep in producing (fecundity) and remaining a pleasure (purity). The families would also be happy at the wellbeing of the recipient (quantity). Bentham would most likely not consider an animal's pain in his Hedonic Calculus, but even if he did, the intensity of the animal's pain would not outweigh the intensity of the human's pleasure, this is as humans have a higher level on consciousness and can reflect upon the pleasure. Also, the quantity affected for the animal is a lot less, rather than by the receiver's family. Overall , Bentham believes that organ transplantation is correct, from humans dead or alive, voluntary or not, and from animals, as long as the greatest good for the greatest number principle is followed, and the maximisation of pleasure is followed, using his Hedonic Calculus. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aleksander Filipczak Religious Studies ...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 Practical Questions 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 Practical Questions essays

  1. What are the Main Features of Utilitarianism as an Ethical Theory?

    This is and 'a priori' assumption and as such, is independent of experience and because of this, experience may suggest that it is not worthwhile having intellectual pursuits if they offer no immediate or long-term gain. The problem with having an ideal is that is that it is almost a

  2. Consider the arguments for and against paid organ donation.

    From research in the literature review, it appears that the donor in a kidney transplant actually suffers very little from the operation. They receive compensation for any transport and missed work, and there is a very low risk of complication or a lower life expectancy because of it.

  1. Explain the main weaknesses of Benthams version of Utilitarianism. Does Mills version of Utilitarianism ...

    To many, this means that Mill's version of Utilitarianism avoids the problems that Bentham's has. This is because the main weaknesses of Bentham's is that any action can have the potential to be justified. In Mill's version of Utilitarianism this is not the case, simply because Mill is a strong Hedonist.

  2. Outline the main features of Utilitarianism andExamine critically criticisms that have been offered against ...

    Even under Mills formulation, every situation could be considered unique and could be assessed as afresh with the interest of the majority in mind. The theory therefore offers a principle on which the majority could enjoy democratic government and society could work in the interest of the masses.

  1. Modern life-prolonging technologies have sharpened some ancient dilemmas on the value of life.

    as education for the illiterate, food for the hungry (but not dying), and hospital space for those whose health or happiness, sanity, solvency, or sentience is in jeopardy but whose life is not. In short, the duty is only to avoid the destruction of life, not to cultivate, nurture, or enhance it.

  2. "Explain Bentham's Utilitarianism" and Act Utilitarianism has immoral consequences Discuss.

    would outweigh the negative effect on the person stolen from. The most well-known proponent of Utilitarianism was Jeremy Bentham. He said that ?mankind is under two sovereign masters, pleasure and pain? which means he believed that every action is based upon whether the action brings you pleasure or pain.

  1. How can Bentham's Utilitarianism be used to decide the right course of action?

    Bentham devised the principle of utility and he said ?the principle of utility aims to promote happiness which is the supreme ethical value.

  2. With reference to the topic of abortion , examine and comment on the controversies, ...

    Although medically there is not justification for the principle of ensoulment, this idea has informed the modern abortion law. This is why Aquinas?s idea became significant. The abortion laws are based upon the primacy that there is a point when you are human.

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