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Utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).
Pages 9 (2259 words)
Mill and Bentham Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are the two historical figures most closely associated with the philosophy of Utilitarianism, which seeks to ground moral reasoning in a calculation of utility by judging actions on the basis of the degree of goodness, happiness, and pleasure.
As Bentham wrote in Chapter 1 of ‘An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation,’ "By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question: or, what is the same thing in other words, to promote or to oppose that happiness." (Bentham, 1823) Utilitarianism addresses the philosophical problem that occurs in the definition of “the good” in a pluralistic society where many people may differ on defining exactly what constitutes objective standards in moral reasoning. Utilitarianism is important in its relationship to the development of empirical standards in science to replace theological justifications of right and wrong in society, as well as in the growth of democracy, which required a solution to moral issues related to the disagreement among groups with different standards of belief. Utilitarianism is often summarized as “the greatest good for the greatest number” being used to calculate the moral correctness of an action, decision, or policy for both individuals and society on a common standard. According to Larsen (2011), utilitarianism is “a normative ethical theory under ethical Naturalism” and also a “teleological – consequential (outcome based) – ethical theory”. ...
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