An analysis on the concept of utilitarianism

Bentham's book An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation was printed in but not published until

An analysis on the concept of utilitarianism

The Greatest Good for the Greatest NumberDecember 22, Introduction You have probably heard a politician say he or she passed a piece of legislation because it did the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens.

Perhaps you have heard someone justify their actions because it was for the greater good. In this article, we are going to talk about the philosophy behind such actions. The philosophy is known as utilitarianism.

An analysis on the concept of utilitarianism

Although it is a long word, it is in common usage every day. It is the belief that the sole standard of morality is determined by its usefulness.

This means that this ethical system determines morality by the end result. Whereas Christian ethics are based on rules, utilitarianism is based on results.

Utilitarianism began with the philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill Jeremy Bentham developed his ethical system around the idea of pleasure. He built it on ancient hedonism which pursued physical pleasure and avoided physical pain.

According to Bentham, the most moral acts are those which maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Mill used the same utilitarian calculus but instead focused on maximizing the general happiness by calculating the greatest good for the greatest number.

While Bentham used the calculus in a quantitative sense, Mill used this calculus in a qualitative sense. He believed, for example, that some pleasures were of higher quality than others.

Utilitarianism has been embraced by so many simply because it seems to make a good deal of sense and seems relatively simple to apply. However, when it was first proposed, utilitarianism was a radical philosophy. It attempted to set forth a moral system apart from divine revelation and biblical morality.

Utilitarianism focused on results rather than rules. Ultimately the focus on the results demolished the rules. In other words, utilitarianism provided for a way for people to live moral lives apart from the Bible and its prescriptions.

There was no need for an appeal to divine revelation. Reason rather than revelation was sufficient to determine morality. Founders of Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham was a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law and one of the founders of utilitarianism.

He developed this idea of a utility and a utilitarian calculus in the Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation In the beginning of that work Bentham wrote: It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.

On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: He believed that this foundation could provide a basis for social, legal, and moral reform in society.

Key to his ethical system is the principle of utility. That is, what is the greatest good for the greatest number? When Mill was a teenager, he read Bentham.

The concept of preference utilitarianism was first proposed in by John Harsanyi in Morality and the theory of rational behaviour, but preference utilitarianism is more commonly associated with R. M. Hare, Peter Singer and Richard Brandt. Utilitarianism is an ethical system that determines morality on the basis of the greatest good for the greatest number. Probe's Kerby Anderson evaluates it from a biblical perspective. Utilitarianism holds that in the final analysis only one action is right – that action whose net benefits are greatest relative to the net benefits of all other possible alternatives. Finally, Utilitarianism considers both immediate as well as all future costs and benefits of the action taken.

I now had opinions: Whereas Bentham established an act utilitarianism, Mill established a rule utilitarianism. According to Mill, one calculates what is right by comparing the consequences of all relevant agents of alternative rules for a particular circumstance.

This is done by comparing all relevant similar circumstances or settings at any time. Analysis of Utilitarianism Why did utilitarianism become popular?

There are a number of reasons for its appeal. First, it is a relatively simple ethical system to apply. To determine whether an action is moral you merely have to calculate the good and bad consequences that will result from a particular action.If you answered yes, you were probably using a form of moral reasoning called "utilitarianism." Stripped down to its essentials, utilitarianism is a moral principle that holds that the morally right course of action in any situation is the one that produces the greatest balance of benefits over.

Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics, or the ethics that define the morality of actions, as proposed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

It is defined by utility, the existence of. Utilitarianism study guide contains a biography of John Stuart Mill, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The Concept of Utilitarianism.

For many utilitarians, an act is right when it is useful in bringing about a good end (something with intrinsic value). For Bentham and Mill these intrinsic goods (things every rational person values) are pleasure and happiness.

Utilitarian thinking underlies most of these phrases, and many individuals believe they are morally obligated to increase the happiness and decrease the unhappiness in the world. The Consequences; The second key concept of utilitarianism is that we judge moral actions by the consequences they produce.

The requirement to vaccinate children against diseases such as polio, measles, and whooping cough is an example of utilitarianism, or serving the public good, as opposed to allowing parents to opt out of vaccination based upon religious grounds.

Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number