Premium Essay

Utilitarianatics

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By KDLC
Words 1764
Pages 8
All of human life is marked by a series of problems and questions that must be confronted and answered. Every day we face basic choices, to eat the ice cream or the cake, to swim or to bike, to play soccer or basketball, to read or watch TV. Such examples are trivial, but there are much more important ones with more foreboding consequences: to go to college or not, where to go, choosing a career, a spouse, a house. Yet, there are even more serious dilemmas that must be faced, some that may have eternal consequences: to go war or not, to lie and cheat or not, to unplug a loved one from a respirator, and so on. Such moral questions have enormous weight to them. And as human beings, we have no choice but to face them every day. It is part of the essence of what it is to be a human. There is no way out of it, no matter how much someone tries to ignore these issues, these choices must be made, and their consequences faced. Others have realized the importance of such questions and have devoted much time and writing to address them. All the way back to Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have been deeply concerned with such issues. Each has offered his own view of right and wrong and how to go about acting in the right way. Those in the field of ethics have spent much time pondering these questions. Two such philosophers were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Each of these philosophers expounded and endorsed the principle of utility. For utilitarian’s, pleasure and pain are the two driving forces. “Nature has place mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure” (Bentham 367). For Bentham the principle of utility was the principle for ethical questions. The principle can be simply stated as providing the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. This means that Bentham is an Ethical Hedonist; the right thing to...

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