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Although the actual definition and concept of utilitarianism was not defined until the time of Jeremy Bentham in the late 17th century, it was nonetheless a fundamental determinant in a means of thinking that philosophers as early as Aristotle sought to pursue.
This particular approach is useful to understand due to fact that it has often been referred to as the primal case of the ends justifying the means. This is of course due to the fact that happiness or utility cannot be determined until the action or actions that are intended to evoke such a utility had been performed and can be measured. Many within the field of philosophy have noted that utilitarianism, perhaps more than any other approach, is quantitative and can oftentimes be referred to as reductionist with regards to its approach. This is due to the fact that the ends – means approach requires the individual to be completely and entirely cognizant of the fact that utilitarianism, if used as an overarching theory, must necessarily factor in all of the preceding actions and determinants that lead to whatever utilitarianism does in question. The ongoing debate then necessarily hinges upon the degree of inference and emphasis which should be placed upon the consequences of the determinant actions that yield the end result. Similarly, with regards to John Stuart Mill’s quote, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a full satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the questions. ...
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