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Betham Ethics

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  • June 2013
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‘Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure – they govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think…’ (Jeremy Bentham) The above statement made by Bentham is the way that he feels that people should act in situations where morals and ethics are compromised. Bentham suggests that we are governed by two sovereign masters; these are ‘pleasure’ and ‘pain’. This is the way that we should make all decisions based on this theory. Bentham states that if we do something ethically good then we receive please for this act, and then on the other hand if we do something wrong then we will receive pain. The word utilitarianism simply comes from utility, Bentham looks and the choice that would be the most useful to the people involved. Bentham was one of the pioneers of Hedonic Utilitarianism this normative ethical theory looks to the greater good; the choice that we make should be based on the which outcome would provide the greatest amount of pleasure for the greatest amount of people. Bentham’s theory benefits the majority and neglects the minority. Bentham described his theory as being qualitative, he believed that pleasure could be measured and if you had a decision to make then the ‘right’ answer would be the one that resulted in the greater amount of happiness for the greater amount of people. Bentham wished to create a universal theory that could relate to ethics and remove moral disagreement; he brought a scientific certainty to a moral decision. Bentham wanted to cut out personal confusion by creating a scientific formula to calculate how much please and pain is produced from the proposed actions. It was from this the he created the hedonic calculus, which had seven criteria; intensity, duration, purity, extent, certainty, fecundity and remoteness. Using these criteria Bentham believes that we should be able to calculate the best option to take by using the amount of pleasure or pain that may arise from moral...