Utilitarianism Today

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CONTENTS

BIBlIOGRAPHY..................................................................................................2

QUESTION.........................................................................................................3

ANSWER............................................................................................................4

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bentham J, A Fragment on Government, (1776)
-The Works of Jeremy Bentham (Simpkin, Marshal and Co, 1843)

Coddington A, Utilitarianism Today, ‘Political Theory’, (Vol. 4,May, 1976)

Riddal JG, Jurisprudence, (2nd edn Oxford Press 2006)

Freeman M, Harrison R, Law and Philosophy Current Legal Issues, (Oxford Press 2007)

Simmonds NE, Central Issues In Jurisprudence, (Sweet and Maxwell ,3rd edn, 2008)

Meyerson D, Understanding Jurisprudence, (Routledge Cavandish, 2007)

Harris JW, Legal Philosophies, (Butterworths 1980)
Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks, S.J., and Michael J. Meyer, ‘Calculating Consequence: The Utilitarian Approach to Ethics’ (1989) Issues in Ethics Vol 2 <http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/calculating.html> B Wheeler,’ Crunch Time for Happy Talk’, (BBC News 9th Oct 2008) <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7657465.stm> Colsen C, ‘Shorting Special Needs: Utilitarianism and Budget cuts (25th Jan 2010) <http://www.crosswalk.com/news/shorting-special-needs-utilitarianism-and-budget-cuts-11625356.html> Daily Record, ‘London riots: Human rights laws have made police sitting ducks’(2011) <http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2011/08/09/london-riots-human-rights-laws-have-made-police-sitting-ducks-says-tory-mp-86908-23331956/> The Winfield Daily, ‘Let Senate Prevail on Special Ed Funding, <http://winfieldcourier.com/articles/2011/02/18/opinion/editorial/doc4d5eb5bc318d4769515384.txt> (18th Feb 2011)

BBC News, Government 'planning to measure people's happiness' (2010) <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11756049>

QUESTION

Apply your approved topic* to your chosen news item. In what specific ways does the news item exemplify a particular theoretical position or its influence or allow for demonstration of theoretical considerations inherent in your topic? TOPIC: Utilitarianism

NEWS ITEM: ‘Government to measure people’s happiness.’(15 November 2010) LINK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11756049

ANSWER

Jurisprudence as we know it is an offshoot of philosophy and more precisely the philosophy that deals with questions of law. When one speaks of jurisprudence there are many theories, calculated analysis and profound philosophies which try, in each its own way, to guide the law as well as us in the end. Utilitarianism is one of them. The original concept of utilitarianism is simple which is, ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’, as utilitarianism’s best-known advocate, Jeremy Bentham, puts it. Stopping there however would not be doing justice to his theory. Bentham goes on to explain that, for every question whereby we judge whether an act is good or bad, the criterion to answer would be by its consequence. This consequence is taken in regard to the effect that particular act would have on human pleasure and pain, the two ‘sovereign masters that govern mankind’.

Bentham was a man of numbers and to him, good government needs numbers. The importance of numbers to him is indisputable and if anything his propositions were almost always quantitative in nature. Going back to the pleasure and pains idea, Bentham proposed an elaborate and rather thorough guide to analyzing them. For this, he devised a list of pleasures including pleasures of wealth, power, skill and memories among others as well as a list of pains such as pains of regret, disappointment, enmity and awkwardness to name a few. All in all, Bentham lists a total of fourteen pleasures and twelve pains. The value or degree by which a pleasure or a...
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