Bentham’s utilitarianism (30 Marks)
Throughout this essay I will be explaining the aspects of Jeremy Bentham’s theory of utilitarianism. We can divide his theory into three parts;
1. Motivation- this was Bentham’s view on what drove human beings, and what goodness and badness really meant.
2. Utility- This was from the Latin word ‘Utilis’ meaning ‘useful’. This was his moral rule.
3. Hedonic Calculus- This is Bentham’s system on how to measure the level of good or bad a consequence is.
Utilitarianism is the moral theory of which will bring the greatest happiness (pleasure) for the greatest number of people. Jeremy believed that the right act would be the one that would ...view middle of the document...
Whereas if the doctor were to save the old man, then the old man wouldn’t have much longer to live and his family are probably already dead and wouldn’t have much else to live for.
The Principle of utility. The principle of utility is the right and wrong of an action and is determined by the ‘utility’ or otherwise known as the usefulness of the action. Usefulness is the amount of please or the amount of happiness that can be made or caused from the action, this is a teleological theory as it brings a good act by the end of the approach. The principle of utility can also be known as ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people’ This basically means that by making a decision or choice it will bring more pleasure than pain for the most amount of people rather than more pain than pleasure for a few amount of people. This may bring problems for Bentham’s theory as it is not relevant for one person alone. When a person is faced with an issue Bentham suggested that a person should make a decision that is best for the maximum amount of people as possible
For example in the scenario of a house fire, inside the house fire there are two people; your aged father who is in a wheelchair and a doctor who has discovered the cure for the world’s deadliest diseases, and who is still carrying the formula in his head, you can only save one person who will you save? According to the theory the person who is entitled to be saved first would be the doctor who has the cure for diseases because he would save millions of people’s lives and will bring the greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people whereas the aged father would bring a lot of happiness for his family and friends but not to the majority of people in the world, therefore the theory concludes that the doctor should be saved.
The Hedonic calculus. The hedonic calculus is Jeremy Bentham’s system for measuring how good or bad the consequence is of the moral action. It considers seven factors. The seven moral actions...