Comparison between Utilitarianism and Idealism

Topics: Utilitarianism, Pleasure, Idealism Pages: 3 (1153 words) Published: April 11, 2004
Utopia Would Be a Mix of Philosophical Theories?

The two theories that will be compared and contrasted in this essay are Plato's Idealism and Mill & Bentham's Utilitarianism. I chose these two theories because, to me, they are the ones that seem to be the most realistic and interesting. The way to get from the level of the "is" to the level of the "ought" of the Philosophers in these theories are the two bests. In this essay, it will be shown that the two theories are not so different in their relation between the level of the "is" and the level of the "ought"; it will be shown that Idealism would be a better theory for a society with highly intellectual people, and that a combination of these theory would be the best way for our society to evolve from the level of the "is" to the level of the "ought".

Plato's way to go from the "is" to the "ought" is socratic questioning. He says that we should question ourselves on whether the moral views we have are ideal or not. He also says that the way of looking at things we have is wrong because all men are not the same, and so they do not have the same opinion of things. Part of his theory says that to get to true virtue (ideal moral views) we have to trim down all the false moral views we have and get to the basic, timeless, and unchanging patterns of the Good. With those ideal moral views we would be able to mirror the Good. Examples of false ideal moral views for Plato are seeking for selfish pleasures such as food, sex, and power.

For Utilitarians, the way to get from the level of the "is" to the level of the "ought" is to reward or sanction a person for his or her actions. In Utilitarism people should choose actions that are the most "utile" for them but also for society. In other words they should choose the most pleasant and less painful actions and consequences for the greatest number of people. The degree of utility (degree of pleasure) is determined by what is called "felicific calculus". This pleasure...
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