Self – interests, include the acquisition of pleasure and happiness. A society is a group of individuals who strive hard to obtain the maximum benefit from the resources at their disposal (Utiliatarianism, 2000).
The relationships they form with other individuals are aimed at achieving the objective of happiness. The concept of utilitarianism states that deriving pleasure and happiness from life is the best way to lead one’s life (Utiliatarianism, 2000). Utilitarians, in addition to promoting this way of life, declare that if individuals strive to use their rational self – interests, then it will benefit society at large.
Jeremy Bentham was a renowned British thinker and reformer. He propounded a moral theory, which promoted the thought that the outcome of human action determined the value of such action. Consequently, humans undertake acts that provide them with happiness, whilst avoiding pain or suffering. The hedonistic value of any act could be determined by considering various factors, such as the intensity of the pleasure experienced, the time for which such pleasure lasts, and the possibility it holds out for avoiding collateral harm (Kemerling, 2002). According to Bentham, the happiness of any community is the sum of its individual human interests.
The utilitarian principle provides a definition of the moral obligation of individuals. The happiness of a community is based on the actions of its members, which can be harmed by the actions of individuals in the community. Bentham conjectured that social policies could also be evaluated in a similar manner (Kemerling, 2002). It was his considered opinion that these could be assessed by their effect on the well being of the community and the individuals living in it.
The objective behind inflicting punishment on criminals was to reduce crime. Punishment effectively reduces crime as it discourages individuals from committing criminal acts. As such, punishment drastically alters the