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Explain What Is Meant by Act and Rule Utilitarianism Essay

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  • on October 22, 2014
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,222 words

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Below is an essay on "Explain What Is Meant by Act and Rule Utilitarianism" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

a) Explain what is meant by ‘ACT’ and ‘RULE’ utilitarianism
Both act and rule utilitarianism is based on the principle of utility; which is the very basis of Utilitarianism. It states that something is morally right if it produces more pleasure than pain, and morally wrong if it produces more pain than pleasure. This sort of thinking is devised using the hedonic calculus (P.R.I.C.E.D.F). As you can see this is the basis of both Act and Rule Utilitarianism: the maximisation of pleasure and the minimisation of pain; the difference is the way in which they go about achieving this.
Act utilitarianism is the theory where the principle of utility is applied only to every individual situation. In act utilitarianism there are no moral rules except that the principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number is applied in each situation. Act utilitarianism was devised by Jeremy Bentham which he believed human beings were motivated by pleasure and pain and therefore they may do anything which brings out 'the greatest good for the greatest number.' He believed people must measure their actions by using the hedonic calculus as it weighs up the pain and pleasure generated by the available moral actions to find the best possible outcome. In this type of utilitarianism the pleasure is measured in quantity.
Rule utilitarianism is a theory motivated by rules, unlike act, rule believes that it is not the consequence which determines whether an act is correct or incorrect, and however it is the act itself. J.S.Mill believed that the wellbeing of the individual was of greatest importance and that happiness is most effectively gained when the individual are free to pursue their own ends, subject to the rules that protect the common good of all. Rule utilitarian’s believe that rules should be formed using utilitarian principles for the benefit of society. Your action is judged right or wrong by the goodness or badness of the consequences of a rule that everyone should...

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