Rule Utilitarianism

Topics: Utilitarianism, Morality, Ethics Pages: 4 (1524 words) Published: October 24, 2013
Utilitarianism was developed in the 18th century by Hutchenson, who used the phrase "the greatest good for the greatest number" to describe his theory. His idea of Utilitarianism, however, seeks to find a rational means of assessing how best to put this promotion of happiness into practice, and is split into two types; Act Utilitarianism is the earliest form, in which what is deemed right is based on the assessment of results of a particular action, and Rule Utilitarianism, which allows to be taken into account the general benefit to society that occurs when people follow general rules. Bentham and Mill each argued respectively for these types of Utilitarianism, and thus their beliefs differ.Bentham was born in London at a time of great scientific and social change. He argued for Act Utilitarianism, and maintained that human beings were motivated by pleasure and by pain. He believed that everyone had an equal right to happiness, irrespective of their situation or status in life and argued that everyone counted equally in the assessment of the benefits of an action. He believed that overall, this would also benefit the individual who did so and this would lead to that person's greatest happiness as well. His theory is democratic as pleasure cannot be for one person and one person alone. Bentham wrote down his beliefs in his major work, ‘The principles of morals and legislation', written in1789, which is divided into three sections; The motivation of human beings and the concept of good and bad - "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we shall do, as well as to determine what we shall do." ; The Principle of Utility -The greatest good for the greatest number (The most useful course of action if trying to maximise pleasure and minimize pain and in a given situation, one must examine the consequential pain/pleasure resultant for all concerned.) ; and lastly, his Hedonic...
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