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

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Introduction

1. Explain Bentham?s Utilitarianism: Utilitarianism is a moral philosophy based on the utility, or usefulness of an action. This philosophy is rooted in hedonism, or seeking pleasure. Hedonism can be traced back to Ancient Greece, with philosophers like Aristotle writing about ?eudaimonia? or happiness being the highest good. Some people would argue that hedonism is an egoist theory as it only considers the outcome for the individual, Thomas Hobbes thought that mankind was inherently selfish and that the only reason why we behave is because we have a ?social contract? and understand that we must surrender our free will to the state in order to survive. Utilitarianists would agree that man is motivated by pleasure however Utilitarianism also considers what is best for society, as it focuses on the greatest good for the greatest number. They believe in a social contract but think instead it allows us to be free and get along with each other. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory meaning that it is concerned with the outcome of the action rather than an intrinsic value of the action itself. This means it is relative and dependent on the situation. Joseph Fletcher was a philosopher who proposed situation ethics as a moral philosophy. ...read more.

Middle

or it could cause huge unrest for decades to come, and it is incredibly hard to predict which one it will be. Bentham?s Utilitarianism is known as Act Utilitarianism, which means it examines the utility of individual acts completely separate from each other. Some people think that this theory is too relative as it could allow for immoral acts to take place as long as they produced enough happiness. John Stuart Mill created the idea of Rule Utilitarianism to solve these problems. Jeremy Bentham thought that all pleasures were equal saying that ?pushpin is as good as poetry.? Pushpin was a game played in pubs at the time, and so Bentham thinks that as long as it brings happiness it is as noble a pursuit as studying poetry. John Stuart Mill disagreed and referred to this idea as a ?Swine Ethic? meaning that something could be justified because the majority of people did it, rather than the act itself being good. 1. ?Act Utilitarianism has immoral consequences? Discuss. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory, meaning it decides upon the morality of an action purely based on the outcome of that action. The hedonic calculus works out what is the ?greatest good for the greatest number.? Bentham believed that this idea would bring about happiness, and believed that morality was based purely upon happiness. ...read more.

Conclusion

It makes sense logically that killing this amount of people would never be considered moral by a Utilitarian. On the other hand, some would say that society has a duty to help minority groups and so they should not be treated the same as everybody else because the people who are privileged do not need the help. In Bentham?s utopian view of society, however, this would not be necessary as the inequality would not exist in the first place. In conclusion, Act Utilitarianism provides the most moral outcome if used correctly. It allows us to take outcomes that reduce pain and consider them moral. However it is easy to see that Tyranny of the majority could come about using the calculus, as a small group of people could be negatively affected but because of their size this would not outweigh the good for the majority. Rule Utilitarianists like J.S Mill would argue that a rule-based morality would solve this problem, as it says that an action is good if it conforms to a rule that leads to the greatest good. By not allowing exceptions to the rule it may prevent issues like the Tyranny of the majority, but like all absolutist theories, it could still lead to immoral acts due to the person who makes the decisions about the rules. ...read more.

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