Theory of Utilitarianism
3 Pages
700 Words

The basic theory of utilitarianism is called "The Principle of Utility” and it states the morally best alternative is that which produces the greatest amount of happiness or pleasure to the greatest amount of people. The two most well known utilitarian writers, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, believed in this theory but had there own slightly different variations as far as it came to the kind of pleasures or happiness to be achieved. In Jeremy Bentham's first published work, "Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation” published in 1789, he tells of how there is not one set of principles for personal morality and another set for social morality. By doing this he wants to use utilitarian beliefs of how a right action must be done for the good of people of the people as a majority to revise and form new laws. John Stuart Mill's goal in his work, "Liberty” was to state that the only reason society became involved in a person's life was to make that person !

act in a certain way in which they would not do harm to themselves or others. Through this he interjections his utilitarian beliefs by stating that people would be better off finding happiness without the government's interference in one's life by enforcing their laws.

Bentham's beliefs differ from Mill's in that he says that there are 3 different of degrees of pleasures to be had by a right action. These three degrees are intensity, duration, and fertility. In order to determine which pleasure you are seeking, Bentham

believes that you must choose the one that will last the longest. Mill believes that there

are only two kinds pleasures, bodily pleasure and pleasure of the mind. He also believes

that we shouldn't try and look for our own happiness, but the greatest happiness. By doing this he says that you should focus on yourself and your own talents to make society better, thus making you feel conscious.


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