Bentham said ‘the principle of utility aims to promote happiness which is the supreme ethical value.’ In determining how to measure different amounts of pleasure and deciding on the right and good thing to do Bentham came up with the Hedonistic Calculus. This was a calculus to weigh up pain and pleasure and a way of testing whether an action is morally right, one that results in the most pleasurable outcome. It is measured in a quantitative way. Looking at the quantity of happiness produced from the action. It consists of seven key elements which measure different aspects of happiness.
Summary of Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a teleological theory as it looks at the consequences which also makes it a consequentialist theory. It focuses on the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Jeremy Bentham, one of the main ethicists that who believed in utilitarianism, believed that happiness is the greatest good. He defined happiness as pleasure minus pain. John Stuart Mill was a hedonist and accepted that happiness was of great importance and stressed that happiness is more important than pleasure.
Obtaining Eudaemonia Through Arete: Aristotle’s Account on the Virtue of Character In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle determines that happiness is the ultimate human good. Defined as excellence in rational activity, happiness is “a certain sort of activity of the soul in accord with complete virtue” (1102a5). Because he asserts that virtues control happiness, Aristotle provides a thorough account of virtue in order to understand how one must secure happiness. While virtues of thought are important, virtues of character are of significant value for they are the states of human beings that ultimately allow for the attainment of happiness. In his presentation of virtue of character, Aristotle illustrates how they’re acquired, what they consist in and considers whether they are voluntary.
Natural Moral Law is a theory that is explained by Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle. It states that there is a natural order to our world that should be followed. It was originated in the philosophy of Aristotle and then developed by Aquinas. Natural Law is an absolute theory of ethics but it is not rooted in duty but in our human nature and our search for genuine happiness and fulfilment. Aquinas considered that by using our reason to reflect on our human nature we could discover our specific end purpose.
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Kantian Ethics. Kant was a philosopher in the 18th century; he devised a normative ethical system that he had based on the idea of duty. Our duty is what we are made to do; what our responsibility in life is which is inherently good. This links in to the idea of good will that Kant had, he believed that good will was one of the most important parts of his ethics, acting selflessly and following duty. Kant devised two different types of imperatives which allow us to make our decisions, hypothetical imperatives are the rules that we follow to attain a personal outcome or a selfish wish whereas categorical imperatives are intrinsically right.
Aristotle is very persuasive in his discussion of virtue and the excellences. He mainly argues that virtue is, in a moral sense, a product of habit. Intellectual excellence, on the other hand, is derived mainly from teaching. According to Aristotle, "Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do excellences arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit." Moral virtue is then a product of nature, or habit.
Aristole supported that justice is the high road to democracy. In addition, the second way is to seek the happiness for their citizens. Because democracy is based on good will and mutual understanding. The relation between democracy and happiness was based on mutual dependence. Aristotle thought that is the purpose of the whole life and happiness belongs to the human's mind.
Nichomachean Ethics is a series of chapters, books, put together by Aristotle’s son, Nichomachean. In his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle is quoted: “Happiness is a certain sort of activity of the soul accord with complete excellence.” In other words, happiness is not a state of being, rather than an activity that one’s soul does. The only way for someone to reach true happiness is to reach “complete excellence”. One can reach complete excellence, by being a virtuous character and achieving the ultimate and self-sufficient goal of happiness, “eudaimonia. In order for a person to reach “complete excellence”, one must have a clear understanding of what “eudaimonia” is and know what to do to
For utilitarian school of thought, an individual strives to do the most good, even at the expense of the minority. Utilitarianism and Kantianism find the basis of their differences in the idea that the ends justify the means. Utilitarian beliefs support this idea while Kantian philosophy rejects this. Modern ethics were devised from these two basic ethical beliefs in an attempt to combine the best aspects. Generally, the morally “right” action benefits the majority while affecting the fewest amount in a negative way.