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Flashcards in Utilitarianism Deck (8)
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1

Context

- teleological
- introduced by Jeremy Bentham

2

The principle of utility

The best course of action to take is one that maximises happiness for greatest number

3

Hedonic calculus

way of measuring whether an action would bring about maximum pleasure and avoid pain

1. intesity
2. duration
3. certainty or uncertainty
4. Propinquity
5. Fecundity
6. purity
7. Extent

4

Mill's addition

- In his book 'Utilitarianism' (1863)
- Made distinction between 'higher pleasures' and 'bare pleasures'
- Its better to be a human dissatisfied than a pig satisfied

5

Act

- each actions is considered on its own
- looks at balance of pleasure an pain that is likely to be produced by particular action
- no duty to adopt to particular approach
- avoids setting up rules

6

Rule

- focus is on the 'common good'
- looks to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number in the long run
- considers what is best for society
- rule utilitarians recognise general rules that exist for the befit of everyone

7

Strengths

- flexible and allows for changes
- does not depend on an external authority such as religion
- Based on practicality
- Every individual is considered

8

Weaknesses

- hedonic calculus can be time consuming and difficult to work out
- some argue that happiness is not a sufficient goal for ethics
- not always good a guessing what will make us happy
- no reference to God
- minorities lose out