Essay about Utilitarianism

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Utilitarianism The principle of Utilitarianism ‘greatest happiness of the greatest number’ can be traced back to Frances Hutchinson and David Hume of Scotland in the 18th century. Utilitarianism theory was developed first by Jeremy Bentham. His student John Stuart Mill who is the most famous Utilitarian then took on this theory.

America had fought for and gained their independence from the British to obtain their freedom and greater democracy. The Declaration of independence of the 13 colonies, action of the second continental congress of July 4th 1776.

The French revolution had its English admirers of its principles. Human rights had become a real
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The rightness or wrongness of an action is determined.

The Principle of utility (or usefulness) was one from Jeremy Bentham 1789. Usefulness refers to the amount of pleasure or happiness caused by the action.

“By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question: or, what is the same thing in other words, to promote or to oppose that happiness. I say of every action whatsoever; and therefore not, only of every action of a private individual, but of ever measure of Government”

Bentham (1789)

An action is right if it produces the greatest good for the greatest number where the greatest good is the greatest pleasure or happiness and the least pain or sadness and the greatest number is the majority of people. Good is the maximisation of pleasure and the minimisation of pain. His theory is democratic because the pleasure can’t be for one person alone.

Jeremy Bentham designed the Hedonic Calculus. The calculus weighs up the pain and pleasure generated.

1. Its Intensity (or the Intensity of the pleasure as a consequence of the action)

2. Its duration (The duration of pleasure (I.e. how long it lasts – the longer the

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