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

UTILITARIANISM In this paper I will be discussing utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the theory proposing the principle of utility as the correct ethical standard. I will also be talking about the THEORY of RIGHT CONDUCT, which is also a part of moral the

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Leah Peterson April 27, 2000 Philosophy 130N PAPER ONE: UTILITARIANISM In this paper I will be discussing utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the theory proposing the principle of utility as the correct ethical standard. I will also be talking about the THEORY of RIGHT CONDUCT, which is also a part of moral theory. I have been asked to prove if Bentham or Mills' version of utilitarianism is right for the sadistic voyeur case. I will begin by telling you about the case. Case: this man enjoys watching women being brutally raped; he is locked in a room. He cannot exit the room, there is a window in the room and a curtain covers it. Behind the curtain a woman is being brutally raped by several men. If the man opens the curtain he will gain a great deal of pleasure and no pain, but if he doesn't open the curtain he will receive no pain or no pleasure. Bentham's principle of utility states this: that an action ought to be done if and only if it maximizes the total amount of pleasure to those persons affected by the action. ...read more.

Middle

Bentham is saying that if you desire something that is desirable you should obtain that desire. This is not true in the sadistic voyeur's case, true the men are all gaining pleasure but the woman is not gaining pleasure at all. She is gaining more pain from the sadistic voyeur because he chose to open the curtain and watch her being brutally raped. Bentham's principle is problematic because it's immorally wrong to commit such an act. The action that the sadistic voyeur is thinking about committing is a forbidden action. Meaning that from the point of view of morality it is mandatory no to do. Mills Utility Principle is also known as the Greatest Happiness Principle. His principle states that actions are right in proportion, as they tend to promote happiness, wrong, as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain. Mills' principle is different from Bentham's because Mills is talking about happiness and the principle of virtue. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the action that is being desired is not virtuous then it is not coming from a right frame of mind. I think that Mills' theory is better than Betham's because Mills gives good reason why the act shouldn't be committed if it is not the right thing to do. Like the sadistic voyeur situation, Mills would it would not worth the satisfaction, but Bentham thinks that if it is desirable then you should fulfill that desire. All of that is wrong. Mills does have additional problems, for example, Mills says that if something is desirable, it is in some way worthy of being desired. Now that statement is very problematic. Not everything is worthy of being desired. It's like me saying that I desire money; true money is a very important factor in living in today's society. But it is not the answer to every problem I have, so therefore it is not worthy of being desired. This paper was a learning experience for me. I have never really done a research paper of this sort. I really enjoyed doing this and I hope that this paper is somewhat to your satisfaction. ...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. falsification principle

    This is because beliefs are so strong and will never change and nothing that is so unchangeable can be meaningful so statements of about religious beliefs are meaningless The falsification principle would at this point therefore seem to make a significant challenge to religious belief.

  2. Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is an unfair system of ethics which could not work in the ...

    Perhaps the greatest British philosopher of the nineteenth century, he was an administrator for the East India Company and a Member of Parliament. Amongst his other works, he wrote 'On the Subjugation of Women', one of the inspirations behind modern feminism.

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

    Happiness is pleasure and the absence of pain. Unhappiness is pain and the privation of pleasure. The Greatest Happiness Principle deems consequences rather than motives as important. Actions are right as long as they produce the "greatest good for the greatest number of people".

  2. Utilitarianism. Identify the main problems of Utilitarianism. To what extent do these make ...

    The principle of Utilitarianism is also purely secular which is why is can appeal to different people. As there is no reference to any main religion it can be either followed by atheists or by many different religions separately. This helps the principle to be more widely used and maybe more appealing to many people.

  1. Explain how Benthams version of Utilitarianism may be used to decide the right cause ...

    child die is out weighed by the amount of people you have saved if using Bentham's theory. However Bentham knew that it would be hard to predict the outcome of every situation and know which route to take and so in order to help, he came up with the 'hedonic

  2. What are the advantages of utilitarianism

    The theory of utilitarianism seems to be reasonable to link morality with the pursuit of happiness and the avoidance of pain and misery this connection would receive popular support. Other strength for utilitarianism is that its reasonable, you can take into account situation and actions in everyday life and relate

  1. What makes a person valuable?

    Furthermore, those who disagree with consciousness defining a person can also argue that a baby has no consciousness as they have no awareness or rational thoughts about certain situations, they don?t know what is right or wrong as they don?t understand much, but does this make them less of a person?

  2. Since utilitarians hold that justice can be subordinated to overall utility, utilitarianism is morally ...

    In teleological theories such as utilitarianism, the theory of the good is determined first, and then the theory of the right is derived from this as the method for maximising the good. Rawls suggests that this way of approaching morality is very rational: ?it is tempting to suppose that it

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