utilitarianism is the foundation of law making

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Utilitarianism was first developed by Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher and legal theorist of the 18th century. Bentham argued that one should maximise happiness for the majority (‘the greatest good for the greatest number, a view which is known as the ‘Utility Principle’. Happiness was equated with moral goodness. This idea further identifies Bentham as a ‘psychological hedonist’, since he regarded humans as being primarily motivated by pleasure and the avoidance of pain. A contented society would be a good society.
To bring reason and evidence to the field of ethics, Bentham then put forward what he regarded as a scientific or empirical process for making moral decisions, known as the ‘hedonic calculus’. This consisted of seven key criteria one must consider when making a moral choice:
- Intensity
- Duration
- Certainty
- Propinquity or remoteness (how close at hand pleasure falls)
- Fecundity (how likely pleasure is to be followed by more pleasure)
- Purity
- Extent (how many people it affects)
Later in the 19th century, Bentham’s God son John Stuart Mill modified his theory. He regarded Utilitarianism as an important but flawed approach to ethics. While Bentham had regarded all pleasures as ‘commensurate’ (they are all equal or equivalent), Mill distinguished between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ pleasures. Higher pleasures would be those which engaged the mind (e.g. music or poetry), but lower pleasures would be those which engaged merely the body (e.g. eating, sex). Mill developed the idea of ‘competent judges’: those who had experienced the full range of pleasures could discriminate between what is higher and lower. A good society would be refined and constructive in its pleasures, and so Mill avoided the charge that Utilitarianism is a system of base gratification.
Another key distinction between Bentham and Mill lies in the difference between Act and Rule theories of Utilitarianism. Bentham proposed an Act Utilitarian approach, meaning that he treated each

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