Explain How Bentham’s Version of Utilitarianism May Be Used to Decide on the Right Course of Action

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Explain how Bentham’s Version of Utilitarianism may be Used to Decide on the Right Course of Action

Bentham has been quoted saying ‘an act is right if it delivers more pleasure than pain and wrong if it brings about more pain than pleasure.’ From this; we are able to add up and compare the amount of pleasure or pain coming from each act we partake in and choose weather it is the right and good thing to do. This calculation can be done through the hedonic calculus, formed of 7 parts. The first is the intensity of the pleasure coming from the act, or the depth of pleasure. The second is the duration of the pleasure, how long it lasts – the pleasure of having a baby and so child would last longer than the pleasure of keeping the job or promotion you may loose, therefore assisting with decisions like abortion. The third is the certainty of pleasure, or uncertainty. Forth is the remoteness of the pleasure, will it directly effect you or effect people far away all over the world – like giving to charity. Then comes the chance of a succession of pleasures, this looks at the consequences of the act, questioning weather this act will continue to have good outcomes or if good could lead to bad. The sixth is the purity of pleasure, how secure the pleasure will be. The final element if the extent of the pleasure, how many people will it effect in a positive or negative way – this element reminds us of the greatest good for the greatest number of people, not just for you as an individual. This calculus gave Bentham a solid way of measuring and quantifying weather an action is morally right or wrong, it allowed him to judge weather the act would result in the most pleasurable outcome having weighed up all of the elements. Therefore, any act can be judged by any person in a simple quantitative way.

Bentham’s principle of utility states that ‘greatest happiness for the…...

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