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Explain how Benthams views on utilitarianism can be used to decide on the right cause of action

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Introduction

Thomas Hurley Ethics Homework Questions Explain how Bentham?s views on utilitarianism can be used to decide on the right cause of action (25 marks) Utilitarianism is an ethical theory behind the justification for the greatest good. This focuses on the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Utilitarianism is a teleological and a relative theory, this means that it is dependant on the outcomes and not concerned with the motive or intention of an action. So as long as an act, no matter what the act is, maximises happiness then it is good. However this is extremely controversial as these actions of goodness may conflict with the law. Bentham was in favour of hedonism, this is the most useful thing to do and therefore the moral thing to do is to maximise pleasure and minimise pain. ...read more.

Middle

Next is extent, this will be painful for all close friends and family that know an unborn family member is being killed. However, having the baby will affect a vast number of people, but many cancel each other out as each life brings pleasure and pain. Fourthly, how intense is the resulting pleasure/pain, You might argue that a person without a child can enjoy a wide range of intense pleasures but Having a child might bring intense feelings of joy repeatedly; the child itself may experience intense pleasure throughout its life; the child may cause equally intense pain. Remoteness is how near the pain/pleasure will be, in terms of pleasure the relief will be immediate but when thinking of pain, there could be a huge time period of depression without showing any signs of pleasure. ...read more.

Conclusion

Once again using abortion, Singer could have a completely different view on this as he is concerned with what the individual would prefer, in this case the mother. This is a very different view on the situation. There have been many problems with utilitarianism when concerning Bentham?s theory as many people argue that you van not quantify pleasure is some kind of measurable scale. The theory is unpredictable, you can't know the future, and things rarely turn out as we think they will. It cannot be right to judge an action right or wrong based on outcomes that are down to chance. Lastly, according to Bentham?s theory, utilitarianism focuses on the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, this would mean it would be a good act for ten rapists to rape the same woman as their pleasure will outweigh her pain, ...read more.

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