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Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of Utilitarianism

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Introduction

Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is an idea first developed by David Hume in his book 'Why Utility Pleases'. Hume tried to account for the fact that we tend to approve those qualities and actions that are useful to society; that is, those that promote social utility. However, Hume's theory of ethics could not be described as utilitarianism in the way that the term is used today. Jeremy Bentham was the first person to use Utilitarianism in the way in which the term would be used today. Drawing on and adapting Hume's ideas in order to coincide with the society in which he lived during the industrial revolution. ...read more.

Middle

Using this calculus, Bentham believed that it was possible to measure the amount of pleasure or pain that an action will bring about. This became known as act utilitarianism. The prime consideration when carrying out an action is the amount of happiness or pleasure that will ensue from the action. Laws or rules are of secondary importance. The problems with this theory is that pleasure cannot be quantified, and that pleasure is not the same for everyone, so we can therefore not measure the amount of pleasure or pain an action will cause when regarding another person, and it is impossible to calculate or predict the amount of pleasure of pain any action will brig about as the consequences cannot be predicted. ...read more.

Conclusion

that Bentham would consider the act itself and try and predict how this would affect the lives of people, causing them either greater pleasure of pain. Mill a student of Bentham was, however more concerned with the intellectual pleasures of an action, and not the physical pleasured described by Bentham. It would be fair to assume that as regards genetic engineering as a Utilitarian Mill would agree that for the greatest good for the greatest number, genetic engineering despite the potential pain caused, it has the power and potential to do a great deal of good and help a lot of people thus causing great happiness both physical and intellectual. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anna Reilly ...read more.

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