Capital Punishment and Utilitarianism

Authors Avatar by emmerzpianogmailcom (student)

Capital punishment

Act Utilitarianism follows the idea that the principle of utility should be applied to each individual situation uniquely. This means the greatest happiness for the greatest number. An Act Utilitarian would suggest that when faced with a moral choice a person must decide which action will lead to the greatest happiness. Bentham, who is widely considered the father of Utilitarianism, was an Act Utilitarian. He believed that the pain and pleasure of an action determined its morality. Morality concerns principles that distinguish between right or wrong behavior. Bentham said, "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do". This indicates that humans are just like animals as they respond similarly to pain and pleasure.
Join now!

In previous times, to determine the morality of an action people had accepted the views of priests and other authoritative figures. However, Bentham questioned whether they always suggested the moral path to follow. Bentham therefore decided to give people a way to work out the morality of their actions themselves. This is featured in his felicific calculus.

A moral dilemma is a question of whether a certain action is moral or not. I will be discussing the moral dilemma of capital punishment.

There are two ways to solve moral dilemmas; the first would be to ...

This is a preview of the whole essay