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Explain How Bentham’s Version Of Utilitarianism May Be Used To Decide On The Right Course Of Action. (25 Marks)

856 words - 4 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

The act of crucifying Jesus by soldiers can be justified using Bentham’s version of Utilitarianism.

Bentham’s Utilitarian theory can be used to decide on the right course of actions. An example of this will be abortion. Bentham’s theory will support the act of abortion. According to his theory the majority will receive pleasure through the abortion of an unborn. The pregnant women might have conceived the unborn by an accident. If the woman and her family are financially broken she will choose not to keep the child. This will lead them to take a decision to abort the unborn. This will not make the financial system better for the family however it will decrease the amount of materials they would need to spend for another person, allowing them to save some money. This will lead them to take a decision to abort the unborn child. Even though it is not acceptable to abort a child Bentham’s theory can be used to support this act. Majority will benefit from the abortion.

In order to measure the level of pleasure received by people Bentham discovered Hedonic calculus. This measures pain or pleasure caused from an action. It is measured quantitatively. This measures intensity (how intense the pleasure will be), Duration (how long it last), Propinquity (how near it is), Certainty (how certain the pleasure result is), Fecundity (how much it will lead to pleasure of the same type), purity (how free from pain the pleasure is) and lastly extent (how...

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