Key Features of Utilitarianism

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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, starting with its intensity, considering how deep or superficial the happiness is, duration, how temporary or permanent the happiness is, certainty, how sure the happiness is, propinquity, how near or remote the happiness is, fecundity, how likely the happiness is to recur or lead to future happiness, purity, how free from pain the happiness is and extent, how far the happiness-giving effects of action will spread. This suggestion will only help the majority and no the minority. It doesn’t give any protection to the minority, for example the sadistic guards, where the guards gain pleasure from torturing and the helpless prisoner gets pain but there are a higher number of guards comparing to one prisoner. So is it correct to say that what the guards are doing is right? For the calculas, what if someone doesn’t have all the available information for every 7 factors? Will the calculus still be put to use? There’s absolutely no guarantee in predicting the future because everyone is different. Each person has different views even if it’s on the same subject. The calculus is obviously flawed. J. S. Mill on the other hand, felt that Bentham had made a mistake in his assessment of what human beings desired the most. Mill thought that what was more important was that happiness will be most affectively gained when individuals seek their own needs. Mill knows that Bentham’s theory is based on quantitative level and that’s where he saw upcoming errors where human behaviours react to different things change everything. So, instead of focusing on quantity, Mill focuses on the qualitative pleasures.

He developed a system of higher and lower pleasures where the higher pleasure would be taken into consideration first before the lower ones. Mill stood up on the fact that pleasures of the mind were higher than those of the body. For example, Mill thought that pure bodily pleasure like food, drink, drugs and sex was not as high an objective as those on an intellectual level. There are...
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