Utilitarianism Vs. Utilitarianism : What Are The Main Advantages Of Utilitarianism?

1699 Words Dec 15th, 2015 7 Pages
(i) What are the main advantages of utilitarianism? (21 marks)

Utilitarianism is a teleological ethical theory that aims to define moral actions as those which satisfy the principle of utility. This states that actions are good insofar as they promote the greatest amount of happiness, and in making moral decisions, one should act in the way which promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number of individuals.

Humans have always considered happiness as a fundamental end goal to strive towards and this hedonistic theory has some origins in Epicurean philosophy. Epicurus’ ideology suggested that pleasure is of intrinsic value to humans; he taught that one should strive towards a life without suffering and thus a state of “ataraxia” - freedom from pain and tranquillity of the soul - would be reached. Utilitarianism was developed further in the eighteenth century, when the first main proponents of utilitarianism promoted both individual happiness and the happiness of the state as a whole, to the point of self-sacrifice in order to bring about the best possible state of affairs.

In 1789, Jeremy Bentham, a British social reformer, published his book The Principles of Morals and Legislation, in which he states that “nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure” and that to be moral is to act in ways which promote the greatest amount of pleasure and the least amount of pain. He proposes the theory of act utilitarianism, in…

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