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Utilitarianism Essay

  • Submitted by: poohbearkisss
  • on February 17, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,433 words

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Below is an essay on "Utilitarianism" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart mill - Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of an action is the one that maximizes the overall "good" of the greatest number of individuals. This means that the moral worth of an action is determined by its resulting outcome. The most influential contributors to this theory are considered to be Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart mill. Utilitarianism operates primarily under the greater happiness principle, in other words, utilitarian’s believe that one should only act in such a way that the results of that act should produce the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. It is due to this view that utilitarianism is often criticized for being too hedonistic because it places the moral value of an act only on how much that act effects happiness. The teleological nature of utilitarianism also can serve as a problem because it pays no attention to the intention an action and can make acts of an immoral nature justifiably right. For example, a robber went into an old lady’s home to steal and then finds out she was very ill to the point of losing her life. He called the ambulance thus saving her life. This act, although started with mischievous intentions, ended with a life being saved and surely produced the greatest amount of happiness for the old lady, therefore it is morally accepted.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was an English moral philosopher and legal transformer who described utilitarianism as the greatest happiness. Bentham's utilitarianism argument starts by giving his principle of utility which judges all actions based on its tendency to promote or diminish happiness of whoever is involved, be it a community or an individual. According to Bentham, an action is right if it increases happiness and decreases suffering and is wrong if it does not.” I do not agree totally with utilitarianism as well as torture”. - His idea of removing beggars from the street in order...

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