Key Features of Utilitarianism

Topics: Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham Pages: 3 (1193 words) Published: September 19, 2013
Examine the key features of utilitarianism (21)
The theory of Utilitarianism is based on the concept of utility, a theory of usefulness. Utilitarianism is a system of morality that generates us with what the most useful thing to do in different situations and outcomes. Different Utilitarian approaches to morality have emerged each with their own theory of good and community of concerning individuals. Featuring the main influential contributors to this theory are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. There are two types of theories, teleological and deontological theories. Firstly for the teleological theory, you would consider the ends, or the outcomes of your decision. It considers whether it is right or wrong depending on the different outcomes it might cause and not concerned with the motive or intention for an action. This is the most common thing to all Utilitarian, the teleological outlook. In this theory, the means justifies the ends.

Whereas the deontological theory concentrates on the moral rules that can’t be broken. For this theory, the most important ethical thing isn’t the result or the consequence of the action, but the action itself. If by nature that the action is wrong, then don’t do it. For example, a deontologist could day, ‘You should never steal, this means by the act itself of stealing is wrong. This theory suggests that the end never justifies the means. Introducing Jeremy Bentham, where his theory focuses on weighing up pleasure and pain. In 1789, in Principles of Morals and Legislation, he wrote: 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 as well as what we shall do. This is when the hedonic calculus came into the equation. Its purpose is to weigh up pain and pleasure generated by the available moral actions to find the best option. There are 7 factors that needs to be considered in this calculus before making the decision,...
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