Mind Map by rebekah.blythe2, updated more than 1 year ago
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Mind Map on Utilitarianism, created by rebekah.blythe2 on 10/02/2015.

Resource summary

1 Classical Utilitarianism
1.1 Jeremy Benthams Hedonic utilitarianism
1.1.1 Born in London 1758-1832 at a time of great scientific and social change. We can divide Benthams theory into three parts: 1. Motivation Bentham is a hedonist and thus he believes that pleasure is the ultimate motivation. Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters pain and pleasure. "It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do aswell as to determine what we shall do"-Bentham. All humans pursue pleasure and seek to avoid pain, this is a moral fact because pleasure and pain identify what is a good or a bad action. For humans the sole good is pleasure and the sole evil is pain. For this reason Bentham's Utilitarianism is called 'Hedonic Utilitarianism'. 2. The Principle of Utility (usefulness) which is his moral rule. Once Bentham identified pleasure and pain as the important qualities for identifying what is moral he developed the 'Utility Principle'. The rightness or wrongness of an action is judged by its utility or usefulness to produce pleasure because pleasure produces a feeling of happiness it is used interchangeably in the utility principle. The action that produces the most happiness is the most moral. 3.The Hedonic calculus. 1.Intesity 2. Duration 3.Certainty 4.Immediateness 5.succession 6.purity 7. Extent (Mill) The hedonic calculus is a quantitative assessment of a situation. It is therefore, concerned with the quantity of pleasure it produces. The greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest amount of people. The quantit of that pleasure is assessed against the hedonic calculus. Quantitative is the opposite of qualitative which is concerned with quality rather than quantity.
1.2 About the theory
1.2.1 It is teleological The theory is teleological because it determines the goodness of an action by the end it produces.
1.2.2 Examples A) You attempt to help an elderly man across the street. He gets across safely. Conclusion: the Act was a good act. B: You attempt to help an elderly an across the street. You stumble as you go, he is knocked into the path of a car and is hurt. Conclusion: The Act was a bad act.
1.3 Essay question: Explain Bentham's utilitarianism (30 marks)
1.3.1 Intro: Make sure it illustrates you understand the demands of the question and how you will go about answering it. Bentham's background in legal refor and his endeavourto base an ethical theory on the greatest happiness fot the greatest number. Explain the three aspects of his theory: 1. Theory of motivation 2. The principle of utility 3. the Hedonic calculus Conclusion: Summarise the main point of your answer.
1.4 AO2
1.4.1 Strengths Intuitively correct. It is intuitively correct because common sense dictates that all situations are not identicaland sometimes a different approach is needed. Cultural diversity. It takes into account cultural diversity- each culture is allowed to operate equally and in parallel without one being considered more superior than the other. Humanistic. It seeks to maximise a human goal it basis is therefore, grounded in humanity and does not seek authority from another source. Yard stick. Bentham is not against moral rules rather than he created the principle of utility as a method of social reform. It is a way of testing a law or legal maxim for its utility for human kind. If it does not meet the goals of a human then Bentham argued the law should be changed. It has the potential to justify any action
1.4.2 Weaknesses Impractical: Impractical to suggest that we hae the time to deliberate and apply the calculus to every situation we come across, especially as we may not have the full information. It is quantitative rather than qualitative
1.5 J.S Mill
1.5.1 Adjustments: The well being of the individualis of the greatest importance. Also if the greatest good for the greatest number is purely quantitative what would stop one person from being extinguished by the majority. Quality over quantity: Mill distinguishes between higher and lower pleasures. Higher pleasures are qualitatively better and more important than lower pleasures. Quality over quantity: Some pleasures are better than others. A happiness which does not include a higher pleasure was not considered a happiness by human beings. Higher pleasures should be considered better even if we find ourselves unhappy because we have forgone quantity. Quality over quantity: Pleasures of the mind are higher than those of the body. To pursue purely bodily pleasures- food, drink, sex, was not as high an objective as those that are intellectually demanding. The background of this view lies in Mills classical philosophical education.
1.5.2 AO2 Strengths 1.It still takes into account the situation but also maximises the importance of the individual. 2. It expresses wholly the christian teaching of loving your neighbour as yourself. 3. Community centred. Weaknesses 1. How much quantity of lower pleasure would outweigh the quality of a higher pain. 2. More people tend to follow lower pleasures than higher pleasures . 3. If one must decided the probable outcome of an act before knowing whether it is good or bad.
1.5.3 RULE Believes rules is meant to be formed using utlitarianism pricniples for the benefit of the society.
1.6 ACT
1.6.1 Where the principle is applied directly to a certain action in a certain circumstance.
2 Preference Utilitarianism
2.1 Preference utilitarianism judges moral actions according to whether they fit in with the preferences of the individuals involved.
2.2 R.M Hare: In moral decision making we need to consider our own preferences and those of others. 'Equal preferences count equally, whatever their content'.
2.2.1 Richard Brandt: Morality you would accept is a form of utilitarianism. Therefore a person would not be influenced by advertising.
2.3 Peter Singer: We should take the viewpoint of an impartial spectator combined with a broadly utilitarian. 'Our own preferences canot count any more than the preferences of others'
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