Differences Between Utilitarianism And Hedonism

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A moral theory should be one’s guide when deciding whether an action is either good or bad, wrong or right. There are many types of moral theories to choose from, but we will only focus on two: utilitarianism and ancient hedonism. These theories meet in their pursuit of something greater, for hedonism it’s personal pleasure while for utilitarianism it is happiness for the greater number of people. In this work, the differences and the similarities of utilitarianism and hedonism will be pointed out after explaining them separately. Utilitarianism is defined to be “the view that right actions are those that result in the most beneficial balance of good over bad consequences for everyone involved” (Vaughn 64). In other words, for a utilitarian,…show more content…
Act utilitarians like Bentham believe that an action is right or wrong depending on what good will the society results from it. Even if the action individually is not necessarily morally right as long as the ending result is beneficial for the society, that action is then considered right. For act utilitarians the end justifies the mean. Actions are also evaluated individually. It may be right for Tim to steal a pen in situation A but wrong for Ben to steal one in situation B. It will depend on the…show more content…
Kant invented the categorical imperative, which is a tool that can be used to understand whether certain maxims are rational, or not. Kant formulated the categorical imperative two different ways: the humanity formula and the universal formula. “Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” This is Kant universal formula, which one should use and think about before performing a certain action. It means that one should perform an action only if he or she believes that this particular action could be used as universal law. In other words only if he or she believes that we can leave safely in a world where everyone could repeat that same action. Dr. Arnold used the example of promises. If Tim makes promises to Ben but does not intend on keeping his promises. He should think about how the world will be if everyone makes promises that they don’t intend on keeping, after a certain time no one will ever believe promises
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