Utilitarianism, By Jeremy Bentham And John Stewart Mill Essay

Utilitarianism, By Jeremy Bentham And John Stewart Mill Essay

Length: 1022 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Utilitarianism is one of the most commonly used ethical theories from the time it was formulated by Jeremy Bentham and John Stewart Mill in the nineteenth century. In his work, Utilitarianism, Bentham “sought to dispel misconceptions that morality has nothing to do with usefulness or utility or that morality is opposed to pleasure” (MacKinnon, 2012, p. 53). To simplify the utilitarian principle, which is one of utility, one can surmise that morality is equated with the greatest amount of utility or good for the greatest number of people (MacKinnon, 2012). Also, with its orientation to the “end or goal of actions” (MacKinnon, 2012, p. 54), Utilitarianism thus, espouses the consequentialist principle, e.g., the evaluation of any human act lies not so much in the nature of the act or the drive behind the act but rather the result of the act (MacKinnon, 2012).
The utilitarian promotion of pleasure or happiness as the intrinsic good makes it akin to Hedonism or Epicureanism that holds “mental delight and peace were the goods to be sought in life (MacKinnon, 2012, p. 54). Thus, utilitarianism as “a pleasure or happiness theory” (MacKinnon, 2012, p. 54) promotes that the only goals that man ought to seek were happiness and pleasure (MacKinnon, 2012). On the other hand, one has to note, that utilitarianism is not egoism, for the fact that happiness and pleasure are to be experienced by the greatest number of people and not just by one person.
In spite of the universalistic claim of utilitarianism to “happiness or pleasure of all who are affected by an action or practice” (MacKinnon, 2012, p. 55), the utilitarian theory had gained numerous critics that challenged it as a workable mora...

... middle of paper ...

...ied and viewed differently by individuals. As Mill elucidated
Moreover, in most aspects of everyday life, a person will not be affecting large numbers of other people, and thus need not consider his or her actions in relation to the good of all, but only to the good of those involved. It is only the people who work in the public sphere and affect many other people who must think about public utility on a regular basis (Spark Notes, n.d.).
Given the above arguments, this writer is more inclined to corroborate that the promotion of the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest number of people is possible, if, and only if all the possible variables are taken into consideration in the calculation of the greatest amount of happiness, e.g., “its intensity, its duration, its fruitfulness, and the likelihood of any act to produce it” (MacKinnon, 2012, p. 55).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Utilitarianism : The Moral Theory Essay

- Philosopher and economist Jeremy Bentham decides to mix math with philosophy to what is now known as utilitarianism. Bentham’s goal is to provide happiness. This theory works to an extent, but then goes downhill. The reason Bentham’s theory is so complicated to understand is that it needs to get fixed by his student. His student John Stewart Mill tries to fix the difference between pain and pleasure. With the theory sort of fix people by Stewart Mill people still find it hard to understand how the theory actually works....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham]

Better Essays
1136 words (3.2 pages)

An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation by Jeremey Bentham.

- What is Utilitarianism. I believe that utilitarianism is the theory in which actions are right if they produce happiness and wrong if they don’t produce happiness. Happiness is what every human being look forward to. When making a decision, all possible outcomes must be ensured that it will lead to happiness. Utilitarianism is based on the principle of utility .Utility is the ability to be useful while satisfying needs. Utilitarianism is generally considered a moral theory that was found by Jeremey Bentham, a 19th century English philosopher and a social reformer....   [tags: Hedonic Calculus, happiness]

Better Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

The Utilitarian Philosophy Of Jeremy Bentham And The Cost Benefit Analysis

- 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....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill]

Better Essays
718 words (2.1 pages)

Jeremy Bentham 's Influence On Society Essay

- Jeremy Bentham was born on February 15, 1748 in Houndsditch, London. He was raised in a period of social, economic, and political prosperity that impacted his take on society. Being the son and grandson of attorneys, he was influenced to practice law in his family. By age 12, Bentham attended Queen’s College, Oxford, pursued law and graduated four years later. However, he soon discovered that he had a real passion for writing and on most days, he spent eight to twelve hours devoted to writing. Bentham composed an essay that criticized and ridiculed America’s take on political philosophy after the Declaration of Independence was published in 1776....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Ethics, Jeremy Bentham, Morality]

Better Essays
1055 words (3 pages)

Utilitarianism, By Jeremy Bentham And John Stuart Mill Essay

- Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are credited for developing the idea of utilitarianism. Simply put, utilitarianism is doing the most good for the greatest amount of people. In this ethical system, an individuals rights are essentially less important than the good of the majority. Happiness is what is valued in this ethical system. Ultimately, the action that leads to the most good is the right ethical action. Basically, no act is simply right or wrong, but rather it depends on the happiness that comes out doing that act....   [tags: Ethics, Morality, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill]

Better Essays
711 words (2 pages)

Jeremy Bentham and John Mill's Classical Utilitarianism Essay

- In this essay I will analyse Jeremy Bentham and John Mill’s Classical Utilitarianism theory. I will present the objection that the expected impartiality of a moral agent is impractical and therefore seriously undermines the theory itself. This essay will focus on this opposition in order to determine whether or not such a theory can be salvaged through a possible modification. Classical Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which promotes the moral decision as one which produces the most utility. Utility is often described as pleasure or happiness in consideration of both the individual and the world as a whole, and results in the greatest balance of pleasure over pain....   [tags: sociological phylosphy analysis]

Better Essays
1183 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about Jeremy Bentham 's Philosophy Of Law And The Principle Of Utilitarianism

- Jeremy Bentham was born in London on February 15, 1748, as “the son and grandson of attorneys. He lived during a time of major social, political, and economic change. The Industrial Revolution, the rise of the middle class, and revolutions in France and America reflected in Bentham’s work. In 1760 at the age of 12, Bentham, a prodigy, entered Queen’s College, Oxford. Upon completion of his undergraduate work, he went on to study law at Lincoln’s Inn. Instead of practicing law, he devoted much of life to writing on matters of legal reform” (Sweet)....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Ethics, John Stuart Mill]

Better Essays
718 words (2.1 pages)

Utilitarianism, By Jeremy Bentham Essay

- Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that means to establish rules or norms that guide and influence our behaviour, known as a normative theory. One of the main subsets of utilitarianism is hedonistic act utilitarianism, supported by Jeremy Bentham. This theory maintains that an action is right if it promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number, therefore it is wrong if it does not do this. This is known as hedonistic as it holds that pleasure, and the absence of pain, is the only thing that is intrinsically good....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Morality, Ethics]

Better Essays
1114 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill

- All of human life is marked by a series of problems and questions that must be confronted and answered. Everyday we face basic choices, to eat the ice cream or the cake, to swim or to bike, to play soccer or basketball, to read or watch TV. Such examples are trivial, but there are much more important ones with more foreboding consequences: to go to college or not, where to go, choosing a career, a spouse, a house. Yet, there are even more serious dilemmas that must be faced, some that may have eternal consequences: to go war or not, to lie and cheat or not, to unplug a loved one from a respirator, and so on....   [tags: Utilitarianism, Ethical Theories]

Free Essays
1753 words (5 pages)

Essay on Comparison of Jeremy Bentham’s and John Mill’s theories

- Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, were both english philosophers that were born around the same time period, Bentham in 1748, and Mill in 1806. What these two had even more in common would be the fact that they were both major benefactors of Utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham was known for a few things, he was a philosopher, an economist, a theoretical jurist, and one of the chief expounders and developers of Utilitarianism (Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Jeremy Bentham"). John Stuart Mill was also known for several things that he has done....   [tags: utilitarianism, utility, utilitarians]

Better Essays
1349 words (3.9 pages)