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Jeremy Bentham Essay

578 words - 3 pages

“Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that holds that an action is right if it produces, or if it tends to produce, the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people affected by the action. Otherwise the action is wrong.” ( DeGeorge 44) Utilitarianism is a way of making decisions by evaluating the consequences. Utilitarianisms believe that actions are not “good” or “bad” in themselves; they are evaluated by their effects and consequences. (DeGeorge 44-46)
There are many different forms or views of utilitarianism that are used to calculate consequences. One of these views is hedonistic utilitarianism; the basis of this form is pleasure and pain. This form of calculation reduces actions to whether they cause pleasure or pain (the absence of pleasure). For example, doing a dangerous job to earn extra money, extra money can lead pleasure. ...view middle of the document...

( “Bentham, Jeremy”)
Bentham was called to the bar in 1769, but he was more interested in speculating on the theoretical aspects of legal abuses. He became frustrated with the English legal code. His decision not to practice law was a huge disappointment to his father. He began publishing works for reform and that introduced utilitarianism and his beliefs. He published “Fragment on Government” in 1776 and “Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation” in 1780 to name a few.(“Bentham, Jeremy”)
Jeremy Bentham proposed many legal and social reforms and devised the moral principles on which these reforms should be based. His idea of utilitarianism was based on psychological hedonism. Bentham believed that pleasure and pain were the motivation for all human actions. He argued that the right act or government policy would lead to “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” Bentham also believed that laws should protect the rights of individuals and didn’t believe in the sacrifice of a few for the benefit of many. (“Bentham, Jeremy”)
Jeremy Bentham passed on his thoughts, beliefs and knowledge of utilitarianism to his god son and student John Stuart Mill. Bentham and Mill co-founded the Westminster Review, which was a journal for philosophical radicals. Mill was then responsible for expanding and revising utilitarianism. Mill went on to use the “greatest happiness principle” and his utilitarianism beliefs and apply them to economics. (“Bentham, Jeremy”)
Jeremy Bentham had a strong belief that education should be available to all and that race, creed and political beliefs shouldn’t determine if someone could go to university. The University College of London brought Bentham’s vision to reality. When Jeremy Bentham died in 1832 he left the school a large endowment. In his will he requested that his body be preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet, his “Auto-Icon”, and displayed at the school. (“Bentham, Jeremy”)
Work Cited
"Bentham, Jeremy." New World Encyclopedia. Paragon House Publishers, Web. 22 Jan 2012.

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