Examine the key ideas of utilitarianism

4 key features of utilitarianism

Utilitarianism gets its name from the term "utility," which in this context does not mean "useful" but, rather, means pleasure or happiness. Although debate persists about the nature of Mill's view of gratification, this suggests bifurcation in his position. Action A is better than action B, if the expected happinessfor Ais greater than the expected happiness for B. He adds that, if a person was to take the contrary view, then "I think it is self-evident that he would be wrong. Society must make sure that the social-economic preconditions of a non-impoverished life prevail. It tells drivers to stop and does not allow them to calculate whether it would be better to stop or not. These moral ideas are often invoked in reasoning about morality, but critics claim that neither rule nor act utilitarianism acknowledge their importance. He states: I agree with you that the right way of testing actions by their consequences, is to test them by their natural consequences of the particular actions, and not by those which would follow if everyone did the same. One of them is the sphere of self-regarding acts with which Mill deals in On Liberty. More specific rules that require stopping at lights, forbid going faster than 30 miles per hour, or prohibit driving while drunk do not give drivers the discretion to judge what is best to do.

Bentham's book An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation was printed in but not published until Mill does not write, as one might expect, that only the action which leads to the best consequences is right.

One of them, for example, is with the process of identifying the consequences of an act—a process that raises conceptual as well as practical problems as to what are to be counted as consequences, even without precisely quantifying the value of those consequences.

In assessing the consequences of actions, utilitarianism relies upon some theory of intrinsic value : something is held to be good in itself, apart from further consequences, and all other values are believed to derive their worth from their relation to this intrinsic good as a means to an end.

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Hedonism asserts that pleasure is the only intrinsic value. If we sometimes choose actions that produce less utility than is possible, the total utility of our actions will be less than the amount of goodness that we could have produced.

John Stuart Mill was a spokesman for women's suffrage, state-supported education for all, and other proposals that were considered radical in their day.

Roger Crisp. To say that something has intrinsic value means that it is simply good in itself.

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But experience teaches us that our judgments regarding just punishments, just tax laws or just remuneration for waged labor are anything but unanimous. A response to this criticism is to point out that whilst seeming to resolve some problems it introduces others.

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Were the offence considered only under this point of view, it would not be easy to assign any good reasons to justify the rigour of the laws.

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Mill, John Stuart: Ethics