Utiliterianism Essay

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Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is generally regarded as a consequential, relativistic theory. A consequential/teleological theory weighs up the consequences of a situation before making a decision on an action. Within utilitarianism, a relativist theory means that all rules are relative to the situation and there are no absolute/binding rules. The theory’s main objective when making a decision in any situation is to bring the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest amount of people this is the concept of utility. David Hume introduced the concept of utility into ethics – and Francis Hutcheson first coined the phrase that is the objective of utility: “the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people”. Utiliterianism in general was articulated by Jeremy Bentham who was a hedonist. As a hedonist, Bentham regarded pleasure to be good and pain to be bad. Hedonism is the fundamentalist belief of utilitarianism. Bentham developed the hedonic calculus to help us asses and decide on a situation, based on utilitarianism. The calculus focuses on seven measures of the quality of the happiness or pain a decision about a situation will make, rather than the quantity. Its seven measures are: 1. Intensity – how great/intense will the happiness or pain be? 2. Certainty – How unlikely or probable is it to occur? 3. Duration- How long will the happiness or pain last? 4. Extent – How many people will your decision affect? 5. Remoteness – how soon will it occur? 6. Richness – will it produce more happiness or pain in the future? 7. Purity – Will it produce any unhappiness in the future? If a utilitarian using the hedonic calculus was to choose whether to save the life of an unmarried homeless man or a doctor, they would save the doctor based on the extent of the happiness, as the doctor is more likely to produce more happiness for his
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