However, there are different weaknesses for Bentham and Mill’s separate theories.His idea of Utilitarianism, however, seeks to find a rational means of assessing how best to put this promotion of happiness into practice, and is split into two types; Act Utilitarianism is the earliest form, in which what is deemed right is based on the assessment of results of a particular action, and Rule Utilitarianism, which allows to be taken into account the general benefit to society that occurs when people follow general rules.This itself has weaknesses.Bentham’s Utilitarianism is a type of Act Utilitarianism.However, they may be broken in exceptional circumstances and consequently Mill argued there was strong and weak rule utilitarianism; Strong U...
1573 words (3.9 pages)
Such a compromise offers a more promising approach to ethics than the classical forms of Utilitarianism.It may be that some other and more modern version of the theory can overcome these problems, such as Welfare Utilitarianism (as supported by Peter Singer) or Two Rule Utilitarianism (as suggested by R. M. Hare).Overall, however, the strengths of both forms are outweighed by their weaknesses.An advantage of Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism is that it considers the consequences and happiness which result from actions; this seems a sensible approach to ethics which would find much support today.Another key distinction between Bentham and Mill lies in the difference between Act and Rule theories of Utilitarianism.
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Mill also said that Bentham’s Hedonic Calculus was a weakness as it was too impractical as to use it you have to think of the; purity, intensity, certainty, extent, duration and fecundity of an act.The captain who has arrested the Indians says that if Jim will kill one of them, the others will be released in honor of Jim’s status as a guest, but if he does not, all the Indians will be killed.Simple act utilitarianism would favour Jim killing one of the men.This is the foundation for the principle of utility and it is a strength to utilitarianism as pleasure and pain can determine how people act.There are lots of strengths to utilitarianism and not many weaknesses.
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Utilitarianism may also be argued against because it ignores or seems to ignore the importance of following duties – the act itself may be right or wrong for a reason other than the amount of happiness it produces, for example an old friend is on his death bed and asks you to swear that you will give ï¿½30,000 (all of his money when he dies) to his favourite park he used to visit but on the way to handing over the money you see an advert that says it needs ï¿½30,000 to save 10,000 people.Bentham’s Act utilitarianism although was flexible and relied on the consequences it had no defence for minorities for example; one slave being treated badly but creating happiness for a whole family would be thought of as right.Act Utilitarianism is abo...
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Rule utilitarianism allows respect for those rules that are established in society in order to allow the greatest happiness to the greatest number.He believed that Utilitarianism could be made into a moral system for ordinary individuals as well as for lawmakers.Preference utilitarianism argues that you should act in a way that reflects the preference of the person concerned, unless that preference is outweighed by other preferences.Perhaps this makes Mill a Rule Utilitarian – someone who believes that morality should still be about obeying moral rules, even if rules are decided upon Utilitarian grounds.Act utilitarianism simply deals with the consequences of individual acts, and accepts no general rules, except that we should promote th...
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Utilitarianism comes in many different forms, the forms that I plan to concentrate on are; act and rule utilitarianism, rule utilitarianism come in two forms itself; strong and weak utilitarianism.Others have thought of something else known as ‘preference utilitarianism’ arguing that we should act so as to maximize the satisfaction of peoples preferences, and the preferences of person concerned should be taken into account, thus allowing people to say what for them constitutes pleasure or pain for them.There are two different forms of this they are weak and strong rule; weak rule means that these rules can be overridden if one act would bring about the greatest happiness over the rule.Mill agreed with Bentham in believing in the principl...
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Weak rule utilitarians say that although there should be generally accepted guidelines, they should not always be adhered to indefinitely.The rules must be formed using utilitarian principles that if followed universally, would produce the greatest happiness for society.Bentham’s approach later became known as Act Utilitarianism.This was later termed ‘Rule Utilitarianism’.A preference utilitarian judges a moral action according to whether they fit in with the preferences of the individuals involved to achieve the greatest good.
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Utilitarianism: Mill, Harm principle and rights MILL WROTE A BOOK ABOUT FREEDOM, ON LIBERTY, AND ARGUED THAT AN ESSENTIAL PART OF A HAPPY SOCIETY WAS INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.ACT UTILITARIANISM IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE PUREST FORMS OF UTILITARIANISM, AS IT ALLOWS THE INDIVIDUAL COMPLETE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE WHATEVER LEADS TO THE GREATER good.Utilitarianism: Act Utilitarianism BENTHAM IS GENERALLY CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN AN ACT UTILITARIAN – HE WOULD JUDGE EACH SITUATION DIFFERENTLY, DOING THAT ACTION THAT LED TO THE GREATEST GOOD.Utilitarianism: Mill, Higher pleasures MILL BELIEVED THAT IT WASN’T JUST THE QUANTITY OF PLEASURE THAT MATTERED, IT WAS THE QUALITY.Utilitarianism: Consequentialism UTILITARIANISM IS TELEOLOGICAL – IT IS THE END OR PURPO...
970 words (2.4 pages)
There are also many weaknesses to Bentham’s theory starting with the idea that some things are unpredictable and we should not base our ethical choices on something that may or may not happen.The use of utilitarianism is a controversial subject for many people, some believe by using it, it can bring happiness to the majority of society, others say by using utilitarianism it can take away peoples own judgment making our society unjust.Mel Thompson agreed with Bentham, he said that Act utilitarianism appears to be simple to follow, just aim to achieve “the greatest happiness for the greatest number”.Utilitarianism is straight forward and based on the principle of minimising pain and maximising pleasure and happiness, it does not take into ...
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Also, an act can be considered right/wrong completely independently of pleasure/pain.The final theory, and the one which I most prefer within Utilitarianism is Preference Utilitarianism.The final, most important point, and one which makes Utilitarianism crumble under itself is something pointed out in particular by Karl Marx: Psychological Hedonism (which Utilitarianism is based on) is self-defining, i.e.Bentham’s Utilitarianism is known as ‘Act Utilitarianism’, because it focuses on individual acts, and that every situation should be approached differently.Where Act Utilitarianism takes each act individually, Rule Utilitarianism is much more general.
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For example, Reitz, Wall, and Love argued that utilitarianism isn’t an appropriate tool when outcomes affect a large number of separate parties with different needs or in complex processes whose outcomes and side effects can’t be readily foreseen, e.g.Ethical business practice, using utilitarianism, would thus consider the good and bad consequence for everyone the action would affect, treat everybody as having equal rights (at least in Mill’s weak rule utilitarianism), with no bias towards self, and would use it as an objective, quantitative way to make a moral decision.However, when two principles or rules come into conflict, such as the choice to lie to save my friend’s reputation, I revert to being an act utilitarian – making my decis...
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It is also argued that if John Stuart Mill had given a correct analogy, his argument would have lead to a selfish version of utilitarianism compared to the utilitarian approach that the greatest happiness for the greatest number its aim.In relation to John Stuart Mill’s classification of higher and lower pleasures, a common criticism of simple versions of the theory such as Bentham’s utilitarianism is that “they reduce the subtleties of human life to a stark calculation of animal-like pleasures, with no concern for how these pleasures are produced.” This gave utilitarianism a bad name and it was often mocked as a “doctrine only worthy of swine”.His example of this problem with utilitarianism is the differentiation between an act and the ...
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Therefore, when we think we may carrying an act with good consequences (such as cooking dinner for the family), it may actually have unexpected bad consequences (eg.However, although utilitarianism considers the majority, it does not protect minorities.This is a vital aspect of utilitarianism, as the theory is concerned with consequences.In addition, utilitarianism ensures that our emotions do not take over; emotions must be pushed aside in order to make a fair and equal judgement.It is teleological, which comes from the Greek word “telos” meaning “ends”, and thus it is to do with the consequences of our actions, rather than the act itself.
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For act, the principle of utility is faced individually.By every dilemma that we face, we’d have to go through it first then make a decision to act upon it.For example, a deontologist could day, ‘You should never steal, this means by the act itself of stealing is wrong.Act utilitarianism is the application on a case by case basis.Now, there are the weak and the strong where the weak utilitarianism doesn’t have to stick by the rules cause they chose not to abide by it therefore when it comes to certain situations, they have a free choice to either follow it or not.
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To a large extent, the work of Mill was deeply valuable to the theory of Utilitarianism; however a number of aspects cannot be applied to all cases.Bentham’s theories on Utilitarianism are advanced and developed ones of Bentham’s theories and in numerous ways do not show much disparity.E, (1999), Utilitarianism (Bentham and John S Mill): Universalized Hedonism (and Egoism), available online: www.csudh.edu/phenom_studies/ethics/lect_3.htm, cited May 2003. .‘Self-respect’ again is a selfish motive, one will act in a manner that makes him feel good about himself and so it makes him happy.Bentham preached that ‘an act is morally right if it produces the greatest balance of pleasure (happiness) over pain’ (Khan, 2002, online: www.jeromekahn12...
2160 words (5.4 pages)
Both approaches are consequentialist, but for Mill, an ethical act is one where the consequences favour the happiness and wellbeing of all.Although he never specifically said himself, it is thought that he would have preferred Act Utilitarianism, which looks at individual acts, and the amount of pleasure they generate, in each situation.Generally it is thought that Bentham took the Act approach, and Mill the Rule approach, however neither put themselves in any of the categories, so it is therefore debatable.The practice of following a rule creates happiness, rather than looking at every separate act; it is thought that he was closer to a Rule Utilitarian, which involves following rules to create greater happiness.Essentially, what makes ...
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However, each of them believes a different kind of thought with respect to being a utilitarian.In chapter four of Mill’s Utilitarianism, he proves that the foundation for the principle of utility is happiness as an intrinsically longed-for thing.In particular, one should consider the fact that Jeremy Bentham was the one who converted John Stuart Mill’s father to support utilitarianism.The defense of Mill on the principle of utility in his book, Utilitarianism, includes five chapters.Jeremy Bentham is considered as an act utilitarian, believing in the precise calculation of the utility of every action in a given situation.
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However overall as an approach it is seen as too weak as it is a subjective to individual circumstances therefore although you cannot forced a person to do an act, as more absolute approach may encourage more people to follow the right path and not only look towards the short-term gain but also the future generations to ensure that there is also long-term gain.Overall however Peter Singers preference utilitarian approach to the environment is seen as a much less anthropocentric approach than the classical forms of utilitarianism therefore is seen as out of the three a more appropriate approach to apply to environmental ethics.When discussing utilitarianism as an approach in terms of environmental ethics, we must consider the strengths an...
2163 words (5.4 pages)
Although Mill is trying to promote right moral action he undoubtedly faces some difficulty in doing so through his utilitarian approach.So now the suffering of the prisoner outweighs the marginal pleasure, in comparison to a theory with no higher or lower order pleasure, so the act is not justified.Bentham was described as being an ‘Act’ utilitarian as he saw the opposite: every situation should be judged independently every time.Through showing that everyone’s happiness is desirable and only happiness is desirable as an end I think that Mill is showing that his version of utilitarianism is not ‘a doctrine worthy only of swine’ instead it is an ethical code promoting a good sense of living.John Rawls- ‘Classical utilitarianism’, ‘Theory ...
2055 words (5.1 pages)
Mill agreed with Bentham’s definition of Utilitarianism “The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness “.As mentioned above there are different types of Utilitarianism and all have merits and drawbacks Bentham Utilitarianism can be classified as Act Utilitarianism which means when faced with a choice all the possible outcomes of potential acts must be analysed and from there decide which act will produce the most happiness or least pain for the greatest number affected by it.Bentham and his views on Utilitarianism have critics from those of opposing ethi...
2336 words (5.8 pages)
However, according to utilitarianism, either option is morally viable and option one might be chosen because it is easier to implement.There are two main forms of utilitarianism, act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism.Classic utilitarianism, the form of utilitarianism created by Bentham, is the form of utilitarianism that started act-utilitarianism.According to utilitarianism, it is the duty of people to perform as many of these supererogatory actions as possible.Even though utilitarianism is one of the most influential moral theories for modern times, there are still problems with it that philosophers will continue to attack.
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So, despite advocating the same underlying idea (the promotion of happiness), we can see that Mill and Bentham arrived at two very different approaches to morality, with Mill avoiding some of the more radical and controversial ideas put forward by Bentham.Higher pleasures would be those which engaged the mind (e. g. music or poetry), but lower pleasures would be those which engaged merely the body (e. g. eating, sex).Bentham proposed an Act Utilitarian approach, meaning that he treated each individual action separately, without any rules to guide the individual.Mill developed the idea of ‘competent judges’: those who had experienced the full range of pleasures could discriminate between what is higher and lower.Another key distinction be...
416 words (1.0 pages)
However Utilitarianism argues the only aspect of an action which has moral significance is its consequences and not from any intrinsic worth.Bentham address this problem as utilitarianism is a relative ethical theory.When giving two or more options Benthams Utilitarian would act as follows.Caryle was afraid that such actions and others would be justifiable by Utilitarianism if employed in all contexts.Utilitarianism is therefore a consequential theory.
1442 words (3.6 pages)
However, there are several criticisms of act Utilitarianism, which limit its validity.Furtherly, Utilitarianism doesn’t distinguish an act where a person makes some form of self-sacrifice for the greater good from an act where a more questionable action achieves the same result.For an act Utilitarian, they feel that when presented with a moral choice, they should judge it entirely independently on what will bring the greatest good in that specific situation.Utilitarianism exists also in the form of act and rule Utilitarianism.Mill’s developed version of Utilitarianism with higher and lower order pleasures caused Utilitarianism to be thought of as elitist, which for example, could allow a minority of Mozart lovers to prevail over a majori...
2163 words (5.4 pages)
Utilitarianism was first created by Jeremy Bentham, he believed that human beings were motivated by pleasure and pain so he can be called a hedonist.Moreover, Mill’s Utilitarianism is known as Rule Utilitarianism.In addition, Bentham’s Utilitarianism is known as Act Utilitarianism.Mill believed for a society to operate it needed general rules which needed to be accepted.Mill also went beyond Bentham in proposing a positive place for rules within an overall Utilitarian approach.
950 words (2.4 pages)
Seeing these objections, Stuart Mill supported the utilitarianism gave the idea of act-utilitarianism by giving his view that an action is right if it produces greatest amount of pleasure over pain by following certain moral rules.Utilitarian morality compels you to do only those particular acts which bring out good results only.The two versions of utilitarianism have evolved from these conditions, act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism.Concluding the discussion now, the best theory is the rule-utilitarianism as compared to act-utilitarianism theory because one does not need to calculate the amount of pleasure and pain before performing any deed.Human beings can pursuit pleasure in the form of intellectual arts and other such activit...
459 words (1.1 pages)
According to him, people can’t lie since they can’t act for the results.And, an act can be right even if it results in a bad outcome.He is highly known and respected today for his moral philosophy, primarily his principle of utilitarianism.Utilitarianism is defined as “a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering.The first form of the categorical imperative prescribes that we must act only according to that maxim whereby we can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
1280 words (3.2 pages)
Utilitarianism evaluates actions based upon their consequences.The first form of the categorical imperative prescribes that we must act only according to that maxim whereby we can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.And, an act can be right even if it results in a bad outcome.Overall, Kant’s theory emphasizes that no one is an exception to moral laws, that people must act on strongly held beliefs or duties that are not in their own interest, and that we should never use people.In order to obey the categorical imperative, people have to act on a maxim that can be universalized.
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Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast’s pleasures…” (Utilitarianism, 1861).As a result of his willingness to distinguish in value between different types of pleasure, and his view that the pleasures of the intellect are the most valuable, Mill has been called an “eudemonistic” utilitarian.The question often asked about utilitarianism, ?Why maximise happiness?’, then is really just about what makes happiness desirable.Utilitarianism is an interesting system and both Bentham’s and Mill’s versions offer sensible guidelines for the individual and for legislation.According to his theory, if a person were to commit an act for the wrong reasons, or even a ...
2046 words (5.1 pages)
It also seems natural to consider the consequences of our actions when deciding what to do, utilitarianism offers a balanced democratic morality that promotes the general happiness.Utilitarianism depends upon accurate predictions.This scale allows us to find the act which leads to the greatest pleasure.Act utilitarianism states that, when faced with a choice, we must first consider the likely consequences of potential actions and, from that, choose to do what we believe will generate the most pleasure.The origins of utilitarianism are often traced as far back as the Greek philosopher Epicurus but the main idea is thought to come from Jeremy Bentham who said that Utilitarian argument worked by “nature has placed mankind under the governan...
1099 words (2.7 pages)