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

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By ethoroo
Words 757
Pages 4
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…...

Similar Documents

Right to Die You Decide

...Lydia has been receiving life sustaining support for over six-months. It is thought Lydia is incapacitated but this has not been confirmed. Her husband is her legal guardian, making him the surrogate decision maker and in accord with the New York Health Care Proxy Law, he has the legal right to make decisions on behalf of his wife. In respect of his wife's wishes, Mr Bevan has asked that life sustaining support be withdrawn. However the decision to withdraw active treatment is not supported by Lydia's mother who believes that Lydia has a chance of recovery. Before the accident Lydia had prepared an advance directive. The advance directive cannot be located, but Lydia has verbally communicated with her husband what her wishes would be, should she ever find herself in such a situation. The laws to be taken into account include the New York's Family Health Care Decisions making Act.(FHCDA) and the New York Health Care Proxy Law. The newly established FHCDA allows for family members to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated patient, irrespective of whether the patient has signed an advanced directive provided that the surrogate decision maker has either direct knowledge of the patient's wishes or will act in the the patient's best interest. However, in this case, Mr. Bevin is also the appointed guardian, which gives him the right to make decisions on behalf of his wife, including the decision to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment, but this right can only...

Words: 748 - Pages: 3

Explain How Bentham’s Version of Utilitarianism May Be Used to Decide on the Right Course of Action. (25 Marks)

...Explain how Bentham’s version of Utilitarianism may be used to decide on the right course of action. (25 marks) Utilitarianism is a teleological theory. It states that something is morally right if it produces pleasure and it’s morally wrong if it produce pain. The principle of Utility refers to the greatest amount of pleasure or happiness for the greatest number of people. According to Bentham, most moral acts are those that maximise pleasure and minimise pain. An action is correct according to Bentham if it gives higher quantity of happiness. Jeremy Bentham’s principle of utility states that ‘greatest happiness for the greatest number.’ Bentham stated that human being is governed by two sovereign masters: pain and pleasure. By pleasure he means the benefits, advantage, goodness and happiness. By pain Bentham refers to evil and unhappiness. An example of this will be childbirth. During the period of pregnancy and throughout the labour the mother goes through different level of pain. However, the result is pleasure as baby is born. This not only brings happiness to the mother, also to a greater amount of people especially the family members. The greatest happiness is given to greatest number. Bentham said: ‘Nature has placed us under the governance of two sovereign master, pain and pleasure. An act is right if it delivers more pleasure than pain and wrong if it brings about more pain than pleasure.’ This approach of Bentham can be used to decide on the right course...

Words: 833 - Pages: 4

Utilitarianism

... higher or lower pleasure. He also did this via the usage of competent judges. Theses competent judges would decide whether or not an action was higher or lower pleasure. A weakness to Mill using competent judges was, that’s the title of being a judge was hereditary. So even if the father was a good judge what is to say that his son will be? Then it may not be fair how the pleasures are separated. There are various strengths to this theory the main ones being, it settles things fairly how the government settle things in politics by applying the rule that he majority wins, as Bentham says “greatest happiness for the greatest number of people”. Also utilitarianism is easily applied to any situation and we can come up with an answer very quickly due to the input of the hedonic calculus. A third strength to Utilitarianism is that it focuses on doing good rather than bad, it tries to bring the most pleasure possible to people involved therefore it brings out the good in people. However even though there are many strengths to this theory there are also various weaknesses too. One being that it is unpredictable as it is a teleological argument as we cant be certain of whether the action will actually produce the please required. Also it allows immoral acts to take place and justifies them. Thirdly we cant efficiently calculate pleasure as pleasure is perceived different by each individual. Another very strong weakness in the theory is that the majority is always...

Words: 1587 - Pages: 7

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

...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...

Words: 757 - Pages: 4

Explain How Quartiles, Percentiles and the Correlation Coefficient Are Used to Draw Useful Conclusions in a Business Context.

... questions ! ! Question 1: From the data below calculate the median, the upper quartile and the lower quartile. 7, 48, 50, 16, 44, 42, 8, 40, 44, 42, 37 Explain the significance of using medians and quartiles in business context of decision making. (Criteria 2.1) [Grade Descriptor M1] Answer 1: 7 8 16 37 40 42 42 44 44 48 50 ! ! ! Median=n+1/2 11+1/2=6th(42) Upper quartile= Q3=3(n+1)/4 3(11+1)/4=9th(44) Lower quartile= Q1=n+1/4 11+1/4=3rd(16) In conclusion the significance of using medians in business decision making is useful when the data is difficult or expensive to measure for example salaries of employees, turnover of a large set of companies,time to distribution in test of components where as Quartiles gives us time to spot a trend and take action if necessary to influence results over the next quarter of the year. ! ! ! ! ! ! Question 2: If the mean of numbers 28, x, 42, 78 and 104 is 62, then what is the mean of 128, 255, 511, 1023 and x? Explain the significance of mean and mode in business context of decision making. (Criteria 2.1) [Grade Descriptor M1] !18 Answer 2: 28 x 42 78 104=62 (mean) ! =28+x+42+78+104/5=62 =252x/5=62 =252+x=5*62 =252x=310 X=310-252 X=58 128 255 511 1023 x= find the mean ! 128+255+511+1023+58/5=395 is the mean As we know mode of a data is the number that occur frequency(more than once) In a decision making mode being an actual value it wont be affected by any other outlying value which will assist us......

Words: 3533 - Pages: 15

How Information Is Used

...How Information Is Used How Information Is Used The role of an organization is to collect and distribute information. No matter the type of business or organization, information is a key component in its success. Each portion of an organization: management, billing, etc. information needs to be provided to each one separately, as well as information that needs to be shared. Information is considered to be what is known beyond random chance predictions. Information must surprise and reduce the uncertainty from recipient. In this day in age, computers and information processing are everywhere. The use of computers influences when decisions are made, as well as what decisions are to be made. The use of computers also affects how a business is organized, and how an employee feels about their job. Basically, information processing and computing can be pervasive. Information in an organization flows in two major ways: Vertically; where the information flows up and down between managers and CEO’s, General Managers, etc. Information also flows horizontally, where the information is shared between each department in the organization. A great example of this would be in department stores; each department may have their own marketing, and sales; however, they do need to share their information to avoid any confusion. In my line of work, the proper use of information and how it flows, is extremely important; Life or death important. Each morning I head to my sister-in-laws...

Words: 706 - Pages: 3

Examine How Bentham’s Utilitarianism May Be Applied to One Ethical Issue of Your Choice: Organ Donation

...Examine how Bentham’s utilitarianism may be applied to one ethical issue of your choice Organ donation Utilitarian's believe that humans are motivated by the pursuit to maximise happiness and minimise pain, which is called a hedonist view. Utilitarianism is an ethical principle, a philosophical system which takes into account consequences of an action rather than motives, where the happiness of the greatest number should be the result, as it is therefore morally right. Jeremy Bentham's understanding of the utilitarian principle is called Act Utilitarianism. His approach states that the rightness or wrongness of an individual act is calculated by the amount of happiness that results from the act. His view is also a hedonist view, which proposes that the main good is pleasure, whilst the main evil is pain. He therefore proposed that all humans pursue the maximisation of pleasure and minimisation of pain. Bentham believed in the greatest good for the greatest number, and believed that quantity (rather than Mills belief in quality) played the main role in deciding whether an act was good or not, as the one providing most pleasure for most people, whilst providing least or no pain, is seen as the best choice by Bentham. To decide the value of happiness created with such act, Bentham would apply the Hedonic calculus, with 7 criteria which help to calculate pain and pleasure generated by the act. Intensity would be applied to see how intense the pleasure or pain is...

Words: 987 - Pages: 4

Explain the Difference Between Bentham's Act Utilitarianism and Mill's Rule Utilitarianism (25)

...Explain the differences between Bentham’s and Mill’s Utilitarianism (25): Utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory as the consequence of an action or rule is the main principle to judge whether an action is right or wrong. Act Utilitarianism is a teleological theory which was designed by Bentham, states that the act which produces the most pleasure was the most desirable act. Rule Utilitarianism is a deontological theory which was designed by Mill, states that that the act which produces the best act is the most desirable act - – “The greatest happiness for the greatest number”. The principle of utility states that actions are right if they promote pleasure but are wrong if they bring pain – “The greatest good [pleasure]for the greatest number.” Bentham believed that all pleasures are equal. However, Mill disagreed and stated that there were lower and higher pleasures. Firstly, Bentham stated that “quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin (a simple child’s game) is as good as poetry” – he believed that all pleasures were the same. For example, the pleasure received from listening to music would be considered to be the same as the pleasure someone may gain from murdering someone. Mill disagreed with this. He believed that pleasures are split into two categories – higher and lower pleasures. Higher pleasures were satisfaction of the mind such as listening to classical music, and lower pleasures were pleasures of the body such as eating. He reasoned that...

Words: 888 - Pages: 4

How Is Lab Glassware Used?

...How is Lab Glassware Used? Intro: The concept of the lab, “How is Glassware Used?” was to familiarize ourselves with the different kinds of laboratory glassware like the buret, Erlenmeyer flask, beaker, and graduated cylinder. According to Dartmouth each glassware functions best in different settings; A buret is used to deliver solution in precisely-measured, variable volumes,1 Erlenmeyer flasks and beakers are used for mixing, transporting, and reacting, but not for accurate measurements, and graduated cylinders are useful for measuring liquid volumes but are for general purpose use, not for quantitative analysis.2 Essentially each glassware either holds certain volumes or delivers certain volumes. The main purpose of the experiment was to see which glassware is both the most precise and the most accurate through testing them and calculating which one has the lowest average percent error. Accuracy is how close the measured value is to the true value of what is being measured. To assure accurate measurements were made, special attention was kept on significant figures in the measurements. Significant figures are numbers that carry meaning in the measurement. Accuracy can be said to be “good” or “bad”, however this is qualitative and doesn’t give a decent sense of how accurate something really is, so a quantitative way of stating accuracy was devised to determine how accurate something is. The quantitative measure of accuracy is called percent...

Words: 2783 - Pages: 12

Many People Confuse the Large Void in the Ozone Layer with Global Warming. Can You Distinguish Between the Two Phenomena? Explain How Each Process May Harm Living Things.

...The ozone hole is a man-made hole in the ozone layer above the South Pole during the Southern Hemisphere’s spring. The ozone layer, which lies high up in the atmosphere, shields us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that come from the sun. Unfortunately we punched a hole in it, through the use of gases like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in spray cans and refrigerants, which break down ozone molecules in the upper atmosphere. While some of the sun’s UV rays slip through the hole, they account for less than one percent of the sun’s energy. So these UV rays cannot explain the global warming of the planet. The sun's output of UVB does not change; rather, less ozone means less protection, and hence more UVB reaches the Earth. Studies have shown that in the Antarctic, the amount of UVB measured at the surface can double during the annual ozone hole. The Earth's ozone layer protects all life from the sun's harmful radiation. Less protection from ultraviolet light will, over time, lead to higher skin cancer and cataract rates and crop damage. “Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. Global temperature shows a well-documented rise since the early 20th century and most notably since the late 1970s. Worldwide, since 1880 the average surface temperature has gone up by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), relative to the mid-20th-century baseline (of......

Words: 260 - Pages: 2

Explain Both the General Principles of Utilitarianism and the Distinctive Features of Rule Utilitarianism. (30 Marks)

... of utility to refer only to individual actions by individuals, its simple mesHe defined ‘Good’ in terms of pleasure or happiness — so an act is right or wrong according to the good or bad that results from the act and the good act is the most pleasurable. Therefore, if an abortion brought more happiness than sadness, under Bentham’s thinking it would be the right thing to dosage being that the more happiness produced by these actions the better the world will be. Jeremy had a very much so Quantitative approach to his ethics that differs to J.S Mill, but his ideas are very important as without them J.S Mill really wouldn't have a theory to base it on. John Stuart Mill sought to address the weaknesses that had been found in Bentham’s principally quantitative approach. Mill maintained that the well-being of the individual was of greatest importance and that happiness is most effectively gained when individuals are free to pursue their own goals subject to the rules that govern us all. Mill accepted the utility principle ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’, but in recognising the dangers that such an approach posed he developed a qualitative approach – i.e. it is the quality of happiness that is important not the quantity. This approach stops the majority achieving a goal simply because they are in the majority and it will bring happiness for them – after all the minority who disagree with the action may be in the right – like those in Nazi Germany who opposed the...

Words: 943 - Pages: 4

Explain How an Economist Could Use the Slope of the Yield Curve to Analyze the Probability That a Recession Will Occur and Why the Spread May Matter.

...CITY OF ATLANTA BUREAU OF DRINKING WATER Water Service Adjustment Request DATE: Dear Customer Service: We have received a high water bill for service at Account Number: leak was discovered which has been repaired by I understand that it is my responsibility to furnish proof that the leak existed and that repairs have been made. Date of repair(s) Location of repair(s) I have enclosed a purchase receipt and/or statement from repair person. a plumber’s receipt report A/an ; Please approve the maximum credit to adjust my account. Name: Mailing Address: Service Address: Phone Street Street City City State State Zip Zip Work: Home: OFFICE USE ONLY: Cycle Customer Service Personnel Date City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management 55 Trinity Avenue, S.W Atlanta, Georgia 30303  Phone # 404-658-6500  Fax 404-602-4402 CITY OF ATLANTA BUREAU OF DRINKING WATER Water & Sewer Appeals Request Date: Name: Service Address: Mailing Address: City: Home Phone: Billing Date(s) of Disputed Bill NATURE OF APPEAL State: Business Phone: Zip Account No.: Note: All current charges and any past due amount that is not in dispute must be paid in order to avoid interruption of water service. Please return this form within five (5) days of receipt to: Bureau of Drinking Water Attn: Water & Sewer Appeals Request Customer Service Division 651-14th Street N.W Atlanta, Georgia 30318 City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management 55 Trinity Avenue SW Atlanta,......

Words: 323 - Pages: 2

Moral Course of Action

...Moral Course of Action Life is a box of chocolates, there are simple and harder decisions as a human being that we must all make eventually through out life. There is the ethical humanitarian in us that must decide from right or wrong. It’s different for every single human being knowing making a decision based on your culture, believes and so on. In this spefic case presented there can be bias and of course not wrong or right answer since we are all different and think differently. Based on the ethical theory presented and the moral course of action, the best and foremost reasonable theory applied to this case will be we are all humans no matter the age, gestational stage or any other situation regarding that matter. In this case the way I analyze this it will fall and be utilitarianism that means all the right things are done based on the benefit of the rest of the community. In this case, it might seem like the babies don’t have a chance based on their condition and that society should just let the consequentialism theory go by, however, it’s more likely and the most moral theory that society itself will be more relatively conscious to is the benefit it can bring by keeping the infants alive. From a point of view of the humanitarian being we are is that any life as importance no matter the situation they are in, however, utilitarianism is more likely to think, what will be the good of keeping them alive and how they will benefit s a whole and society. The chances...

Words: 653 - Pages: 3

Explain How Natural Law Theory Can Be Used to Decide the Right Moral Action

...Explain how Natural Law theory can be used to decide the right moral action [25] Natural law is an absolutist theory which is most commonly associated with Thomas Aquinas. It mainly relies on Aquinas’ theory that humans try to do good things and try to avoid evil in order to find fulfilment and happiness in life. However, according to Aquinas there are two types of good. There is the real good and the apparent good. The ‘real good’ is something that genuinely leads us to fulfil our purpose and achieve perfection. And the ‘apparent good’ is something that only appears good to us but it isn’t genuinely good. For example, a real good would be to study and revise for exams, whereas an apparent good would be to enjoy ourselves by watching television. We might think the second option is the real good for us but it’s the apparent good as we are not really benefiting from it. Aquinas is arguing that for a person to be happy, they must do good actions which can be one of the two types of good. He is also arguing that if humans do evil, they will be lead to the path of unhappiness. This could be interpreted as our actions determine the extent of happiness in our lives. This is known as the Synderesis Rule. Natural law in itself is based on five primary precepts which were, according to Aquinas, revealed to us by God. In defining the Primary Precepts, Aquinas was stating 'self-evident principles' that are universal and absolute - they are part of our very nature as humans, this...

Words: 591 - Pages: 3

• Select Either the Balance Sheet or Income Statement and Explain How the Use of It May Be Applied to Your Everyday Life.

...DNS Domain Name System (DNS) is a circulated database system for running host names and their allied Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Using DNS means that people can use simple names, such as"www.bagleys.com" to find a host, rather than using the IP address (192.168.1.200). A single server may only be dependable for knowing the host names and IP addresses for a small breaking up of a zone, but DNS servers can work together to chart all domain names to their IP addresses. A DNS server working together is what allows computers to speak across the Internet. DNS information is broken up into a hierarchy of domains. Servers are responsible to know only a small portion of information, such as a single secondary domain. The segment of a domain for which the server is openly accountable is called a zone. A DNS server that has full host information and data for a zone is measured reliable for the zone. An authoritative server can reply to inquiries about hosts in its zone use its own resource records. The query route depends on a number of factors. DNS data is divided into controllable sets of data called zones. Zones contain name and IP address data about one or more parts of a DNS domain. A server that contains all of the data for a zone is the authoritative server for the domain. Sometimes it may make sense to pass on the authority for answering DNS queries for a particular sub domain to another DNS server. In this case, the DNS server for the domain can be configured to...

Words: 632 - Pages: 3