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Showing posts from December, 2013

Handout on utilitarianism (for A Level Religious Studies etc.)

(THIS WILL A HEYTHROP PHILOSOPHY POSTER FREE TO SCHOOLS) Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham   [1748-1832], the father of utilitarianism, famously declared that " . . . actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure." Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism – it says that only the consequences of an act are morally relevant. Bentham says that the right thing to do in any given situation is to act to produce the happiest outcome – the happiest outcome   according to Bentham, is that which produces the most pleasure and the least pain . Bentham himself developed a “felicific calculus” factors such as intensity and duration of pains and pleasures could be fed to calculate the right course of action. A simple example of such a utilitarian cal