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Assess Utilitarianism

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Assess Utilitarianism
The idea Utilitarianism is a branch of consequentialism (the consequences of your actions are the basis of which morality is judged) which are both part of normative ethics. Utilitarianism can be summed up easily by describing it as the actions which “creates the greatest happiness to the greatest number” as the most moral one.
A key philosopher that supports Utilitarianism was Bentham, he says we live to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Bentham attempts to calculate the perfect moral decision using an almost mathematical approach. Pleasures are put into the currency of “hedons” and pain as “dollars” by working out the implications of these pleasures and pains by evaluating them by their “intensity, duration, certainty and remoteness” we can use Bentham’s calculator to find out the most moral decision, and the one which is going to cause the most happiness and least pain. However this method can be deemed crude and to rigid for making moral decisions and another philosopher, J S Mill tries to develop it.
Part of J S Mills theory for utilitarianism can be summed up in 6 steps.
1. Happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable as an end.
2. The sole evidence o prove that anything is desirable is that people do actually desire it
3. Each person desires their own happiness
4. Each person’s happiness is desirable
5. Each person’s happiness is good
6. The general happiness of all is ultimate good.
What Mill adds to Bentham’s theory is the introduction of “higher” and “lower” pleasures, differentiating between our more hedonistic and animalistic pleasures such as sex, food etc and higher pleasures such as education, knowledge and so on. The higher pleasures are regarded as being more morally valuable and so are to be considered when calculating the most moral judgments. A criticism for Mills theory, particularly point 5, is that it could...

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