1.1.1 Born in London
1758-1832 at a
time of great
social change. We
into three parts:
18.104.22.168 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
22.214.171.124.1 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
126.96.36.199.1.1 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
1.2 About the theory
1.2.1 It is teleological
188.8.131.52 The theory is teleological
because it determines the
goodness of an action by
the end it produces.
184.108.40.206 A) You attempt to help
an elderly man across
the street. He gets
Conclusion: the Act was
a good act.
220.127.116.11.1 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.
1.3.1 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
18.104.22.168 Explain the three aspects of
his theory: 1. Theory of
motivation 2. The principle
of utility 3. the Hedonic
22.214.171.124.1 Conclusion: Summarise
the main point of your
126.96.36.199 Intuitively correct. It is
because common sense
dictates that all
situations are not
a different approach is
188.8.131.52 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.
184.108.40.206 Humanistic. It seeks
to maximise a
human goal it basis is
in humanity and
does not seek
220.127.116.11 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.
18.104.22.168 It has the potential to justify any action
22.214.171.124 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.
126.96.36.199 It is quantitative
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.
188.8.131.52 Quality over quantity: Mill
distinguishes between higher and
lower pleasures. Higher pleasures
are qualitatively better and more
important than lower pleasures.
184.108.40.206.1 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.
220.127.116.11.1.1 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
18.104.22.168.1 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.
22.214.171.124.1.1.1 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.
126.96.36.199 Believes rules is meant
to be formed using
for the benefit of the
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
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'