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Utilitarianism Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Utilitarianism and Gay Marriage

According to Utilitarianism, an actions goodness consists in its increasing the total quantity of pleasure in the world from now until the end of time, and its badness in its decreasing the total quantity of pleasure in the world, from now until the end of time; the more and action increases the total quantity of pleasure in the world, from now until the end of time, the better it is and the more it decreases the total quantity of pleasure in the world from now until the end of time. Utilitarianism is a very influential theory, and its variation.  As stated above, the utilitarian principle applies to individual actions.  For each action, we consider the impact on utility and judge…

Utilitarian View on Modern Day Situations

Utilitarianism – Utilitarianism is the traditional understanding that the right act is the act which will actually, or most probably produce the greatest amount of happiness or pleasure throughout the world. The view was most famously founded by Jeremy Bentham, and later adapted by John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism focuses on the consequences of an event rather than following strict rules and in general can be classed as a type of naturalism that offers a reductionist approach to ethics. Natural Law – Natural Law is the theory that all humans can discover what is right, due to moral being written into our nature in some way. This theory suggests that there are some absolute ethical standards are the set by the…

Utilitarianism and Healthy Homeless People

Extreme Measures is about ethics. How far is someone willing to go, and how much we are willing to sacrifice, in order to cure the world’s setbacks. Utilitarianism is defined as the moral philosophy that says we should act in such ways as to make the greatest number of people as happy as possible. In the movie, Dr. Myrick acts as the utilitarian. He takes healthy homeless people with “no purpose” to live into his lab and performs experiments on them for research to help people who are not able to walk, to try and walk again. He thinks these homeless people will not be missed because they basically have no purpose in life. Although, Dr. Myrick’s intentions are good,…

Asses the Merits of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a theory aimed at defining one simple basis that can be applied when making any ethical decision. It is based on a human’s natural instinct to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Jeremy Bentham is widely regarded as the father of utilitarianism. He was born in 1748 into a family of lawyers and was himself, training to join the profession. During this process however, he became disillusioned by the state British law was in and set out to reform the system into a perfect one based on the ? Greatest Happiness Principle,’ ? the idea that pleasurable consequences are what qualify an action as being morally good’. Bentham observed that we are all governed by pain and pleasure; we…

Comparison between Utilitarianism and Idealism

The two theories that will be compared and contrasted in this essay are Plato’s Idealism and Mill & Bentham’s Utilitarianism. I chose these two theories because, to me, they are the ones that seem to be the most realistic and interesting. The way to get from the level of the “is” to the level of the “ought” of the Philosophers in these theories are the two bests. In this essay, it will be shown that the two theories are not so different in their relation between the level of the “is” and the level of the “ought”; it will be shown that Idealism would be a better theory for a society with highly intellectual people, and that a combination of…

Outline the key features of utilitarianism

The theory of utilitarianism was developed by and associated by Jeremy Bentham and utilitarianism is a teleological ethical theory where the moral value of an action can be judged by its consequences. Three main philosophers have come up with different types of utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham introducing Act Utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill trying to improve the flaws that he encountered with Bentham’s theory with his Rule Utilitarianism and lastly, Peter Singer with his preference utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism is the original and official form of utilitarianism which states that we must on any occasion act in the way which will produce overall consequences better than those that any other act open to us would produce. Therefore, the greatest happiness principle should…

Outline key features of utilitarianism

The theory of utilitarianism determines the rightness or wrongness of an action by its consequence. The theory uses a teleological approach where it primarily focuses on the amount of pain or pleasure created as the result of a given action. As such, it moves beyond the scope of one’s own interests and takes into account the interests of others. Utilitarianism is a relativist system of which most versions do not set out fixed rules to follow and are quite flexible. The main founders of the theory are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill who outlined the principle in utility. Bentham first developed Utilitarianism in the late 18th century, in the age of industrial revolution which was a time of great…

Outline the Main Principles of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a teleological theory. Three main philosophers have come up with different types of utilitarianism these being: Bentham, Mill and Singer. Bentham introducing the idea of Act Utilitarianism, Mill adapting the ideas of Bentham and trying improve the flaws he saw with his Rule utilitarianism and Singer with his preference utilitarianism theory. Bentham was hedonist, meaning he was a pleasure seeker. Bentham portrayed two main features of utilitarianism, one being the consequentialist principle. The consequentialist principle states that the rightness or wrongness of an act is determined by the goodness or badness of the results that flow from it this shows the teleological side of the theory. The second feature portrayed is the Utility principle this is “the greatest…

Utilitarianism In Contemporary Ethics

1. State the Principle of Utility as formulated by Bentham and Mill and apply it to a particular action (e. g. , lying) to illustrate how it works. (3 points. ) 2. Explain the di%erence between “act utilitarianism” and “rule utilitarianism. ” (2 points. ) 3. Identify three di%erent utilitarian philosophers and explain how their versions of utilitarianism di%er from one another. (3 points. ) 4. Identify one strength and one weakness of the utilitarian view. (2 points. ) 1. THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY DEFINES AN ACT OR RULE THAT IS IN THE RIGHT, WILL CREATE THE GREATEST GOOD OR HAPPINESS FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER OF PEOPLE. FOR EXAMPLE, IF A FRIEND LIES TO A GROUP OF HIS/HER FRIENDS, THAT…

Critics of Jeremy Benthem Utilitarianism

Though there are many supporters of utilitarianism given the fact that this theory prioritizes the benefits of the happiness and satisfaction of the majority not the minority, there are some philosophers and scholar who critique its implications. – Distastefulness: The argument from distaste is often expressed as a suggestion that utilitarianism doesn’t provide enough support for individuals’ rights. It says that just in order to achieve its goal, utilitarianism won’t care about anything else but to make sure that it can satisfy the majority. What about the minority? Will they get hurt? Moreover utilitarianism gives no special moral weight to justice. Maybe just outcomes will often produce more overall happiness than unjust ones. But in those cases in which an…

Utilitarianism and Greatest Number

In the ethical debate, a divide has long existed between two models. One school of thought, notably Immanuel Kant’s Deontology, emphasizes the importance moral motivation, the other, represented by Consequentialism, emphasizes the importance of the outcome. Consequentialism is distinguished from the deontological model as it holds that the ultimate rightness or wrongness of one’s conduct is found in the consequences, or effects, of one’s acts. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism that recognizes happiness as the ultimate end of all individual and communal acts. Happiness for the Utilitarian is the maximization of pleasure and the absence of pain; it is fundamental to our nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Taking this aspect into consideration, Utilitarianism proposes that the moral…

John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism

Abstract The paper presents the life of John Stuart Mill through his biography. A glimpse on his exceptional life as a child was also included in his biography. Likewise, his major contributions as a philosopher and economist were also discussed. Since John Stuart Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, the paper focuses its discussion on Mill and utilitarianism. The views of John Stuart Mill on utilitarianism and how it differs from Bentham’s views were given much attention in the paper. The history of utilitarianism was also presented to show how utilitarianism evolved. The confusions of many people, regarding who the real founder of utilitarianism, was clarified through the history of utilitarianism. Introduction John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), is a British philosopher-economist,…

Main Strengths of Mill’s Utilitarianism

With rule utilitarianism you first have to agree to the general rule then after you apply it to specific cases. Some people see Mill as a rule utilitarian, which means that you act in accordance with those rules which, if generally followed, would provide the greatest general balance of pleasure over pain. This rule is also in line with how society works in the way that most people would prefer to cause pleasure rather than pain. Mill separates pleasure into higher and lower as that he thinks some pleasure like higher is more for the soul and are long term and will benefit you as a person and the lower pleasures which are more material and offer short term pleasure…

Outline the Important Features of Utilitarianism

The word Utilitarianism comes from the Latin word ‘utilitis’ meaning useful. This traditional ethical theory stemmed from the late 18th and 19th centuries. The Principle of Utility is a teological theory popularised by the late British philosopher, Jeremy Bentham. Its basic meaning suggests it’s the total consequences of an action which determine how morally right or wrong an action is. If the amount of happiness produced in an action overrides the unhappiness produced by an action, the action is determined right. An example of this would be an abortion. Jeremy Bentham was a man of extraordinary intellectual gifts; at the age three he began to study Latin and at the age of sixteen he took his degree at Oxford University….

The Lifeboat Case And Utilitarianism

Imagine that four men are placed in a life or death situation. They are stranded in a boat in the middle of the ocean with nothing to eat for nourishment. In a severely weakened state, the men decide that for the benefit of the majority they will draw lots and eat whoever draws the shortest; one of the men refuses to draw. The next day, in spite of the lottery, the youngest boy is killed and fed on by the other men. The argument proposed to justify their actions is that the young boy, sick from malnourishment and from drinking seawater, would have died anyway. Also, were it not for the cabin boy’s body, the other three men would not…

Dickens, Dostoevsky and Utilitarianism: a Comparison

Utilitarianism is the principle that every action of man must be motivated for the greatest happiness for the greatest number. It is based on the idea that whatever is useful is good and the useful is what brings pleasure to man and avoids pain (Dimwiddy). However, the novelists Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoevsky firmly opposed this doctrine that arose with the spread of the Industrial Revolution. Both authors believed that the new thought placed no regard on sentiments and morals. More importantly, it ignored the wellbeing of the individual in order to promote the welfare of the society; thus, creating inequality and social class disparities and consequently tragedy. Dickens and Dostoevsky, through their portrayal of characters and settings of events…

Examine the key principles of utilitarianism

The theory of utilitarianism determines the rightness or wrongness of an action by its consequences. This is determined by measuring the amount of pleasure or pain brought to someone caused by an action. Utilitarianism is a teleological theory of ethics, this means that it is concerned with the outcome and the consequences, meaning that an act is not right or wrong in itself but is right or wrong depending on the outcome of said action. The main founder of this theory was Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). Bentham worked to fight many things during his time such as industrialisation, mass migration and poverty. Utilitarianism is a relativist system – meaning there are no fixed rules, it is also concequentialist – this means…

Critique of Bentham’s Quantitative Utilitarianism

Over time, the actions of mankind have been the victim of two vague labels, right and wrong. The criteria for these labels are not clearly defined, but they still seem to be the standard by which the actions of man are judged. There are some people that abide by a deontological view when it comes to judging the nature of actions; the deontological view holds that it is a person’s intention that makes an action right or wrong. On the other hand there is the teleological view which holds that it is the result of an action is what makes that act right or wrong. In this essay I will be dealing with utilitarianism, a philosophical principle that holds a…

Utilitarianism and Greatest Happiness

Utilitarianism begins with the work of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), an English political and social reformer. Educated at Oxford, Bentham eventually headed up a small group of thinkers called the “Philosophical Radicals. ” This group, which included James Mill (father of John Stuart Mill, more on him later), was dedicated to social reform and the promulgation of Bentham’s ideas. Bentham based utilitarian ethics on the so-called “greatest happiness principle,” an idea originally enunciated by Frances Hutcheson (16941746), one of the founders of the Scottish Enlightenment. Put simply, Bentham believed that the goal of ethics was to promote “the greatest happiness of the greatest number. ” Interestingly enough, Bentham went on to say that happiness consists in experiencing more pleasures than pains….

Utilitarianism is the foundation of law making

Utilitarianism was first developed by Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher and legal theorist of the 18th century. Bentham argued that one should maximise happiness for the majority (‘the greatest good for the greatest number, a view which is known as the ‘Utility Principle’. Happiness was equated with moral goodness. This idea further identifies Bentham as a ‘psychological hedonist’, since he regarded humans as being primarily motivated by pleasure and the avoidance of pain. A contented society would be a good society. To bring reason and evidence to the field of ethics, Bentham then put forward what he regarded as a scientific or empirical process for making moral decisions, known as the ‘hedonic calculus’. This consisted of seven key criteria one must…

Utilitarianism and Genetic Engineering

In the past thirty years, humans are witnessing a huge revolution in the genetic engineering industry. Having identified most of the Human Genome, gene sequencing has become programmed and extremely fast, and laboratory techniques in molecular biology allow for in-vitro fertilization and transfer of genetic material. Gene therapy and repair based on stem cells research allows for replacement of a defected allele in the DNA, and even a whole damaged tissue in the patient. In general, it is accurate to say that genetic engineering is a controversial topic about which people tend to have strong opinions. The genetic engineering issues that mainly catch the attention of the moral community involve the pre-birth improvement of human fetuses. The ability to screen…

Utilitarianism and Greatest Happiness Principle

Happiness Happiness: In one word, this concept exemplifies the American dream. People go to any means by which to obtain the many varied materials and issues that induce pleasures in each individual, and intrinsically, this emotion remains the ultimate goal, John Stuart Mill, a nineteenth century philosopher, correctly advocated the pursuit of happiness, and maintained the concept that above all other values, pleasure existed as the final destination, Mill’s hedonistic views correctly and rationally identified a natural human tendency, and his Utilitarian arguments strongly support the theory that above all else, happiness is the most important dream to be fulfilled. Upon researching for this paper, I came across a counter argument, which was based on metaphysics. Immanuel Kant, in Groundwork…

Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill

Classical utilitarianism is hedonist, but values other than, or in addition to, pleasure (ideal utilitarianism) can be employed, or—more neutrally, and in a version popular in economics—anything can be regarded as valuable that appears as an object of rational or informed desire (preference utilitarianism). The test of utility maximization can also be applied directly to single acts (act utilitarianism), or to acts only indirectly through some other suitable object of moral assessment, such as rules of conduct (rule utilitarianism). Utilitarianism opens with a short chapter in which J. S. Mill, having traced the utilitarian tradition Socrates criticizes intuitionist philosophies and invites to overcome the Kantian definition of moral obligation on behalf of his consequentialism. In Chapter II he states that…

Bentham and Mills on Utilitarianism

I’m Researching… Saved Recents Uploads My Answers Account Products Home Essays Drive Answers Texty About Company Legal Site Map Contact Us Advertise ©2016 StudyMode. com HOME > ESSAYS > BENTHAM AND MILLS ON… Bentham and Mills on Utilitarianism Utilitarianism, Ethics, John Stuart Mill Mar 28, 2006 1882Words 355Views PAGE 5 OF 5 As an American society statues and laws are placed before us to set a standard of morality and justice. But what truly determines whether an action is moral or immoral? As I analyze the works of Jeremy Bentham, in his “Principle of Utility,” Alongside John Stuart Mill, on “Utilitarianism,” we will better understand what the foundations of morality are in accordance to their writings. Furthermore, through their standards…

Utilitarianism – Act and Rule

Since it began, there have been two main exponents of Utilitarianism. They are Jeremy Bentham and J S Mill, and both of them base their own individual theories on the principle of utility, which defines something (an act, etc) dependent on if it achieves “the greatest happiness for the greatest number”. This makes Utilitarianism a relativistic and consequentialist argument, as it takes into account only the outcome of events rather than the act itself as means to determine whether it is good/right. Also it holds no absolutes – it takes the best interests of the greatest number of people no matter if the way of doing seems morally wrong. Bentham and Mill were both generally harmonious in their understanding that…

Utilitarianism Aspects Of Theory

Utilitarianism: Bentham – Hedonic Calculus BENTHAM WAS A HEDONIST – HE BELIEVED THAT PLEASURE IS GOOD IN ITSELF, AND OTHER THINGS ARE GOOD IN SO FAR AS THEY BRING ABOUT PLEASURE AND THE ABSENCE OF PAIN. “NATURE HAS PLACED MANKIND UNDER THE GOVERNANCE OF TWO SOVEREIGN MASTERS, PAIN AND PLEASURE. ” YOU COULD WORK OUT WHICH ACTION TO PERFORM BY CALCULATING WHICH OPTION BROUGHT ABOUT THE GREATEST AMOUNT OF PLEASURE: Duration – how long does the pleasure last? Remoteness – how distant is the pleasure? Purity – how free from pain is it? Richness – will it lead to other pleasures? Intensity – how powerful is the pleasure Certainty – how likely is it that pleasure will result? EXTENT –…

What are the key concepts of utilitarianism?

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) developed his ethical system of utilitarianism around the idea of pleasure. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) later furthered and many believe he improved Bentham’s theory (Mill is often linked to Rule Utilitarianism) but still followed many of his original ideas. The theory is based on ancient hedonism, which pursued physical pleasure and avoided physical pain. Hedonism saw human beings as “Under the governance of two sovereign masters of pain and pleasure. ” So a key concept that Bentham developed was the belief we are controlled by the desire to seek out pleasure and avoid pain bringing about the greatest happiness principle which is choosing the path that gives the greatest amount of people the greatest amount of happiness…

Utilitarianism Essay

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which acts as a guideline on how people should act in certain situations and was first introduced by a hedonist (pursuer of pleasure) named Jeremy Bentham who put forward the ‘Principle of Utility’ which said “The greatest happiness for the greatest number”. Utilitarianism is a theory which bases on the end purpose (teleological) of achieving pleasure, our decisions should be based on consequences in pursuit of the principle of utility (consequentialist) and is a theory which judges each situation independently (relativistic). Jeremy Bentham was the first contributor and developer for Utilitarianism and was most famous for his version of ‘Act’ Utilitarianism which focused applying the Principle of utility to each individual act to each unique…

Explain Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism was developed in the 18th century by Hutcheson, who used the phrase ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’ to describe his theory. Hutcheson’s idea, seeks to find a rational means of assessing how best to put this promotion of happiness into practice. It is split into two types; Act Utilitarianism, this is the earliest form in which what is deemed right is based on the assessment of results of a particular action, and Rule Utilitarianism which allows to be taken into account the general benefit to society that occurs when people follow general rules. It is argued that utilitarianism is a relativist, consequentialist and teleological system of ethics, prescribing no fixed moral rules and judging an action by…

Act Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes overall happiness. It is now generally taken to be a form of consequentialism, although when Anscombe first introduced that term it was to distinguish between “old-fashioned Utilitarianism” and consequentialism. [1] According to utilitarianism the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome although there is debate over how much consideration should be given to actual consequences, foreseen consequences and intended consequences. Two influential contributors to this theory are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. In A Fragment on Government Bentham says ‘it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and…