Utilitarianism - Introduction Learning Objectives Know the hedonic calculus To explain the key features of utilitarianism To apply the hedonic calculus to an ethical dilemma HG start to evaluate act utilitarianism The Big Pictures
Benthams Act Utilitarianism Specification Content Utilitarianism as a relativistic and consequentialist/teleological theory The principle of utility the greatest happiness for the greatest number based on the quantity of pleasure/happiness (maximise pleasure and minimise pain) and the seven criteria of the hedonic calculus (intensity, duration, certainty, remoteness, richness, purity and extent)
Benthams Utilitarianism If this is the answer what is the question? 1. Hedonism 2. If it brings about the greatest amount of pleasure and least amount of pain 3. The Hedonic Calculus 4. 7 5. A theory that is concerned with the end purpose or goal of an action Questions 1. Which ancient ethical system focused on
pleasure? 2. According to Bentham what makes an action good? 3. What name is given to Benthams attempt to assess how we should behave? 4. How many factors in the HC? 5. What is a teleological theory? Jeremy Bentham Bentham developed the ethical theory of utilitarianism. He believed that we should base our ethical decisions
on the consequences of our actions. Actions are judged as a means to an end. Also that we should make all ethical decisions related to each unique event or situation. Although we could use a rule of thumb for example if we had been in the same situation before we could do the same action again. Influences keep it brief Bentham was influenced by the ancient Greek ethical system of hedonism that made pleasure the sole good and pain the sole evil. He was also affected by the huge social and
economic inequality that he witnessed in 18th London and wanted to develop an ethical theory that valued everyone's equal right to happiness, regardless of their situation or social class. Principle of utility Bentham believed all ethical decisions should be based on the principle of utility, by this he meant the principle that approves or disapproves of every action according to the tendency it appears to have to increase or lessen the happiness of the person or group. Basically, he thought that we should choose the action that produces the
greatest overall happiness for the greatest number. He found this phrase in the work by Priestley On Government. Bentham believed we should put the happiness of the community before the happiness of an individual. Hedonic Calculus In chapter 4 of his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation Bentham explains his ideas for a hedonistic calculus. This could be used by individuals to calculate the value or utility of an action i.e. its chances of producing
happiness or pain. In the scientific enlightenment age it offered a way of calculating the happiness caused by a particular action, and made that the basis for deciding how to act. Hedonic Calculus recap sheet Key Terms - Seven Criteria
Intensity Certainty Extent Duration Application of Act Utilitarianism Work in pairs Read example 1 Vardy page 65-66 Attempt to apply the seven features of the Hedonic Calculus to the example Complete your example sheet and discuss with your partner.
What would the act utilitarian response to the issue be? Extention AO2 prep example Essay time! Correct these sentences 1. Jeremy Bentham was a man who lived a long time ago and he did not like the way some people had to live . . . 2. Utilitarimism is based on the principle of utality . . . 3. In this essay I am going to rite
about . . . 4. Utilitarianism is a teleological ethical theory thought up by Jeremy Bentham Changes highlight/underline the problems. Act . Act Utilitarianism- utilitarian methods should first arrive at specific actions which are considered to be moral or immoral and from
these general rules can be deduced. It moves from specific cases to general principles a rule is not enforced if it would not lead to the greatest happiness. Act Utilitarianism would allow acts we would consider to be unacceptable. Q.3 (a) Explain how ethical decisions can be made using Act Utilitarianism Imagine you have to write this essay on Utilitarianism Write a line of the essay, and then pass it on to the person next to you You then add lines to the paper which is passed to you
Can we, as a group, help each other to get decent essay answer? When you get your own back, read it through, is there anything you still want to add? Read Thompson page 74 Key words teleological, consequentialist Origins 18th cent, social inequality Jeremy Bentham Pleasure/pain, Act utilitarianism, quantitative, hedonic calculus, p.r.r.i.c.e.d Q.3 (a) Explain how ethical decisions can be made using Act Utilitarianism Act Utilitarianism: developed by Jeremy Bentham is based on the Principle of Utility (GHP) - Greatest happiness for greatest number
(maximum pleasure, minimum pain for greatest number). The hedonic calculus is used to measure the quantity of happiness. The hedonic calculus contains seven criteria - intensity, duration, certainty, extent, remoteness, richness and purity. It puts the happiness/pleasure of others (as consequence of action) at the centre of decision making. Actions are not good or bad in themselves but should be judged according to outcomes or consequences. The theory is also relativistic and teleological. Expect exemplification (examples) as outlined in the level descriptors for higher level responses. [AO1 30]
Problems with Act Utilitarianism Plenary Pictionary Key terms
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