The Utilitarian Philosophy Of Jeremy Bentham And The Cost Benefit Analysis

The Utilitarian Philosophy Of Jeremy Bentham And The Cost Benefit Analysis

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Michael Sandel discussed the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and the cost benefit analysis. He gives the examples of the cost benefit analysis conducted by Ford in connection with promoting the safety of the Ford Pinto or not. Ford concluded that it would cost more to promote the safety than to pay back for injuries and losses which may occur in a case of the accident. In his calculations Ford assigned the monetary value on human life. Sandel discussed Ford’s decision in class and some of the students argues that it was unacceptable to put monetary value on a human life. Other students argued that in order to maximize the utility you should put some value, usually the dollar amount, even on human life.
Sandel discussed are two main objections to utilitarianism. Utilitarianism fail to respect individual rights, and it is not possible to aggregate all values and preferences using single measurements. You cannot use the monetary value to calculate human suffering or to calculate the price of human life. Also, Sandel gave interesting example of the coliseum, when Roman’s throw the Christians to lions. Christians were suffering and Romans received pleasure watching it. It shows that utilitarian approach would definitely fail to take into account the sufferings of Christians. Later Sandel introduced John Stuart Mill argues Bentham’s idea of “the greatest good for the greatest number” as it fails to take into account the individual rights. Also Mill argues that we have to make a distinguishing between higher pleasures and lower pleasures.

I personally think that the cost benefit analysis is unethical and unjust. My main concern that the idea of the greatest good for greatest number. I personally believe that human life ...


... middle of paper ...


...10) in her work “Collective interest versus individual interest in Bentham’s felicific calculus. Questioning welfarism and fairness” she wrote “ If there exists a tension between the hedonic and the ethical principles, between individual interests and the collective interest, it should be clearly enough revealed via the process of defining individual utility.”(p. 613) I also believe that people should put more interests to the individual approach.

I think that most of the people would agree with my point of view on utilitarianism and cost benefit analysis. As my own mini survey shows people of different race age and religion have similar views on this ideas.
I think in cost benefit analysis and utilitarianism there are not much compromise could be made between individual interests and community interests. Those two approaches mainly based on community interests.

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