An essay on utilitarianism and the importance of human life

An understanding of this topic could prove useful to IB philosophy students taking ethics as one of their chosen options. I am focusing here on the nature of utilitarianism and am not considering its weaknesses.

An essay on utilitarianism and the importance of human life

Bentham's book An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation was printed in but not published until It is possible that Bentham was spurred on to publish after he saw the success of Paley's The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy.

Bentham's work opens with a statement of the principle of utility: It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do… By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever according to the tendency it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question: I say of every action whatsoever, and therefore not only of every action of a private individual, but of every measure of government.

In Chapter IV, Bentham introduces a method of calculating the value of pleasures and pains, which has come to be known as the hedonic calculus.

In addition, it is necessary to consider "the tendency of any act by which it is produced" and, therefore, to take account of the act's fecundity, or the chance it has of being followed by sensations of the same kind and its purity, or the chance it has of not being followed by sensations of the opposite kind.

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Finally, it is necessary to consider the extent, or the number of people affected by the action. Perhaps aware that Hutcheson eventually removed his algorithms for calculating the greatest happiness because they "appear'd useless, and were disagreeable to some readers", [23] Bentham contends that there is nothing novel or unwarranted about his method, for "in all this there is nothing but what the practice of mankind, wheresoever they have a clear view of their own interest, is perfectly conformable to.

Mill " and can be more "a crude version of act utilitarianism conceived in the twentieth century as a straw man to be attacked and rejected. His seminal work is concerned with the principles of legislation and the hedonic calculus is introduced with the words "Pleasures then, and the avoidance of pains, are the ends that the legislator has in view.

This is considered in The Theory of Legislation, where Bentham distinguishes between evils of the first and second orders.

The importance of human life, is really relative to the person is evaluating it. It differs from person to person. To me, I value life dearly, because everything which has happened to me is pleasant so far. Essay about Theory of Utilitarianism and the Innocent Baystander - The ultimate desire of humanity and the focal point of human endeavor has been that elusive beacon of life that flutters, flickers, teases but pleases only a few. An Essay on the Principle of Population [T. R. Malthus] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The first major study of population size and its tremendous importance to the character and quality of society.

Those of the first order are the more immediate consequences; those of the second are when the consequences spread through the community causing "alarm" and "danger". It is true there are cases in which, if we confine ourselves to the effects of the first order, the good will have an incontestable preponderance over the evil.

An essay on utilitarianism and the importance of human life

Were the offence considered only under this point of view, it would not be easy to assign any good reasons to justify the rigour of the laws. Every thing depends upon the evil of the second order; it is this which gives to such actions the character of crime, and which makes punishment necessary.

Let us take, for example, the physical desire of satisfying hunger. Let a beggar, pressed by hunger, steal from a rich man's house a loaf, which perhaps saves him from starving, can it be possible to compare the good which the thief acquires for himself, with the evil which the rich man suffers?

John Stuart Mill Mill was brought up as a Benthamite with the explicit intention that he would carry on the cause of utilitarianism.

It would be absurd that while, in estimating all other things, quality is considered as well as quantity, the estimation of pleasures should be supposed to depend on quantity alone. The word utility is used to mean general well-being or happiness, and Mill's view is that utility is the consequence of a good action.

Utility, within the context of utilitarianism, refers to people performing actions for social utility. With social utility, he means the well-being of many people. Mill's explanation of the concept of utility in his work, Utilitarianism, is that people really do desire happiness, and since each individual desires their own happiness, it must follow that all of us desire the happiness of everyone, contributing to a larger social utility.

Thus, an action that results in the greatest pleasure for the utility of society is the best action, or as Jeremy Bentham, the founder of early Utilitarianism put it, as the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Mill not only viewed actions as a core part of utility, but as the directive rule of moral human conduct. The rule being that we should only be committing actions that provide pleasure to society.

This view of pleasure was hedonistic, as it pursued the thought that pleasure is the highest good in life. This concept was adopted by Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism, and can be seen in his works.

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According to Mill, good actions result in pleasure, and that there is no higher end than pleasure. Mill says that good actions lead to pleasure and define good character. Better put, the justification of character, and whether an action is good or not, is based on how the person contributes to the concept of social utility.

In the long run the best proof of a good character is good actions; and resolutely refuse to consider any mental disposition as good, of which the predominant tendency is to produce bad conduct. In the last chapter of Utilitarianism, Mill concludes that justice, as a classifying factor of our actions being just or unjust is one of the certain moral requirements, and when the requirements are all regarded collectively, they are viewed as greater according to this scale of "social utility" as Mill puts it.

He also notes that, contrary to what its critics might say, there is "no known Epicurean theory of life which does not assign to the pleasures of the intellect… a much higher value as pleasures than to those of mere sensation. The accusation that hedonism is "doctrine worthy only of swine" has a long history.

In Nicomachean Ethics Book 1 Chapter 5Aristotle says that identifying the good with pleasure is to prefer a life suitable for beasts.

The theological utilitarians had the option of grounding their pursuit of happiness in the will of God; the hedonistic utilitarians needed a different defence. Mill's approach is to argue that the pleasures of the intellect are intrinsically superior to physical pleasures.

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Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base, even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs… A being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute suffering, and certainly accessible to it at more points, than one of an inferior type; but in spite of these liabilities, he can never really wish to sink into what he feels to be a lower grade of existence… It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.

And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question… [29] Mill argues that if people who are "competently acquainted" with two pleasures show a decided preference for one even if it be accompanied by more discontent and "would not resign it for any quantity of the other", then it is legitimate to regard that pleasure as being superior in quality.

Mill recognizes that these "competent judges" will not always agree, and states that, in cases of disagreement, the judgment of the majority is to be accepted as final.Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is solely determined by its contribution to overall utility in maximizing happiness or pleasure as summed among all is, then, the total utility of individuals which is important here, the greatest happiness for the greatest number of alphabetnyc.comy, after which the doctrine is named, is a measure in economics of the.

PHILOSOPHY is a study that seeks to understand the mysteries of existence and reality. It tries to discover the nature of truth and knowledge and to find what is of basic value and importance in life.

Henry Gray (–).Anatomy of the Human Body. Development of the Fetal Membranes and Placenta: The Allantois (Figs. 25 to 28). —The allantois arises as a tubular diverticulum of the posterior part of the yolk-sac; when the hind-gut is developed the allantois is carried backward with it and then opens into the cloaca or terminal part of the hind-gut: it grows out into the.

Summary of why suffering probably dominates happiness. I personally believe that most animals (except maybe those that live a long time, like >3 years) probably endure more suffering than happiness overall, because I would trade away several years of life to avoid the pain of the average death in the wild.

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility, which is usually defined as that which produces the greatest well-being of the greatest number of people, and in some cases, sentient animals. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of.

Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy. Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory..

Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the morally right action is.

Utilitarianism, Act and Rule | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy