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

Explain the difference between Bentham and Mills forms of utilitarianism

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked Explain the difference between Bentham and Mill?s forms of utilitarianism Bentham started the theory of utilitarianism. He based his theory on pain and pleasure. He used hedonism- the maximising of pleasure and the minimising of pain, and the principle of utility- the greatest pleasure for the greatest number. In order to judge actions he came up with the hedonic calculus. Mill developed his theory but instead, he focused on happiness for everyone, each individual. Mill also believed in higher and lower pleasures. Bentham is usually associated with Act utilitarianism, Mill is associated with Rule utilitarianism. Bentham?s belief that an action is right if the number of people who benefited was higher than those who didn?t was what Mill criticised. ...read more.


Bentham is usually associated with Act utilitarianism, whilst Mill is associated with Rule utilitarianism. Act and Rule utilitarianism are both relative and consequential- the judgement is based upon the outcome. Strong Act utilitarianism (Bentham) is teleological, so it is based on the outcome of the action. However Rule utilitarianism is deontological which means that rules/laws have to be prioritised to benefit society as a whole. Mill was a weak rule utilitarianism so he would say that rules can be broken in some circumstances where it would bring higher happiness to more people. Bentham used his hedonic calculus to measure pleasure. The hedonic calculus asks seven questions about the pleasure to see whether it is maximised. ...read more.


However, if there was more than one murderer and only one victim, Bentham and Mill would disagree with each other. Bentham would say that the greatest number, in this case the murderers should get their pleasure. There is only one victim so Bentham would say the pleasure that the murderers get from killing the victim outweighs the pain of the victim. Whilst Mill would argue that the pleasure of the murderers is low and so cannot outweigh the real pain of the victim. For Mill the two murderers should be killed in order to make a healthier society. To conclude, Bentham focused on the quantity of pleasure, whilst Mill focused on the quality. Bentham is associated with Act utilitarianism whilst Mill is associated with Rule utilitarianism. However they both focused on the principle of utility and maximisation of happiness. ...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 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 Philosophy essays

  1. Explain the difference between Act and rule utilitarianism

    if you kill someone it would not result in a higher or lower pleasure therefore you should not kill which is a general rule.

  2. Plato's Theory of Forms

    Just as drawings, reflections, or copies of sensible objects are not as real as the sensible things on which they depend, so sensible things are not as real as the concepts in terms of which they are identifiable. Humans have access to the realm of forms through the mind, through

  1. Nietzsche and Mill on Conventional Morality

    Nietzsche illustrates his point with the following example: "The Bird of prey kills the Lamb" He argues that the distinction between the subject (the bird of prey) and the predicate (killing) implies other possible courses of action, which in reality don't exist.

  2. What is the most telling objection to Mill's Greatest Happiness Principle?

    As utilitarianism centres around pleasure one would conclude that there is no higher end. Human beings, therefore, are solely motivated by pleasure. Nothing else, therefore, is of importance or matters. This has obviously led to criticism in many factions of society.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Philisophical Contributions of Nietzsche and Mill to our understanding of ...

    The herd has 'given up' their will to political and social tyranny. And so are weak to their superiors, as reflected in their values. But Nietzsche suggests that people want this. He refers to slaves wanting and accepting political and social tyranny, and relating to the modern manifestation of this through religion, it provides truth and certainty.

  2. Compare, contrast and evaluate Plato and Mill on the relationship between individual and society

    Plato says that all citizens of the Republic, male or female will have access to equal education, as gender is obsolete when knowledge is the main focus, although a woman could never become a Philosopher Ruler. In 1869 Mill wrote "The Subjection of Women", in which he encouraged and supported equal rights for both genders.

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