Utilitarianism Research Paper

538 Words 3 Pages
Utilitarianism

Bentham’s moral theory was founded on the assumption that it is the consequences of human actions that count their merit, and that the kind of consequence that counts for human happiness is just the achievement of pleasure and avoidance of pain. He argued that there is an easy way of calculating human actions, and it is done by considering how intensely pleasure is felt, how long it lasts, how quickly it follows upon the action, and how likely it is to avoid harm.
Utilitarianism began as a movement in ethics around the late eighteen –century (or beginning of the 19th Century). The dictionary definition of utilitarianism is: ‘’ The doctrine that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be guiding principal conduct’’.
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He thought that we should look at happiness as being based on pleasure and unhappiness as being based on consisting pain (Hedonistic Theory-Pleasure is intrinsically good and nothing more). He thought that when making a moral decision, we should look at the outcome of an action. Whatever brings the greatest happiness to the most people is the ‘’morally right decision’’.
An example that can illustrate the theory of utilitarianism is the following question about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where atomic bombs were dropped upon these two Japanese towns and nearly wiped out their entire population. How can the inhumane homicide of thousands of people be justified as anything even distantly resembling morality?
Another good example of this philosophy, is the system of income tax in the US. It is a progressive taxation system where those who earn more money, have to pay more. But when you look at the bigger picture, you realize that there is actually no extra money brought to the economy by the rich and neither there is a financial deficit owing to the low income of the middle class. In a way, the machinery of taxation and discriminatory pricing work upon the principles of utilitarianism and the ultimate outcome is that the high net worth people of the society part with a portion of their extra income so that the lower income strata of the society also get access to the various civil

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