An Account Of Utilitarianism

740 Words3 Pages
Utilitarianism is consequentalist ethical theory. When an action is judged entirely on the utility. So an action would be determined on the outcome and the consequences. In utilitarianism the utility of an action is decided on how much pleasure and happiness is gained from it, so it is about maximising happiness as much as possible rather than gaining pain and sadness. The two most well known utilitarian’s are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. They both believed that what is morally good will bring the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. However there views did differ, and this was on what this happiness and pleasure was, Mill made a difference between higher and lower pleasure. Higher pleasures were intellectual ones like reading and lower pleasures were physical like eating. So Mill was all about how much quality the pleasure brings. Bentham, however believed that pleasure and happiness was measured in quantity not quality. He measure this using the hedonic calculus Jeremy Bentham created the hedonic calculus to provide and easy and clear way to identify what result would generate the most amount of pleasure and least amount of pain. The hedonic calculus measured the possible consequences of an action. Bentham was an act utilitarian; this is when each action is judged individually. Therefore the hedonic calculus works well as it considers each act alone. It takes into account seven factors. The intensity which is how intense will the pleasure be. The duration, how long the pleasure will last. Its certainty, how certain is it that pleasure and no pain will occur after. The propinquity, how near in space and time is it. Its fecundity, the changes of the action being followed by similar pleasures or pains. The purity is the chance of it not being followed by a pain if it’s a pleasure. The extent which is how many people are affected by it. So
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