The definition of utilitarianism through the views of john stuart mill and jeremy bentham

John Stuart was educated by his father, with the advice and assistance of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place. He was given an extremely rigorous upbringing, and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings. His father, a follower of Bentham and an adherent of associationismhad as his explicit aim to create a genius intellect that would carry on the cause of utilitarianism and its implementation after he and Bentham had died.

The definition of utilitarianism through the views of john stuart mill and jeremy bentham

Basic concepts In the notion of consequences the utilitarian includes all of the good and bad produced by the act, whether arising after the act has been performed or during its performance. If the difference in the consequences of alternative acts is not great, some utilitarians do not regard the choice between them as a moral issue.

According to Mill, acts should be classified as morally right or wrong only if the consequences are of such significance that a person would wish to see the agent compelled, not merely persuaded and exhorted, to act in the preferred manner. In assessing the consequences of actions, utilitarianism relies upon some theory of intrinsic value: Bentham and Mill were hedonists ; i.

Utilitarians also assume that it is possible to compare the intrinsic values produced by two alternative actions and to estimate which would have better consequences. Bentham believed that a hedonic calculus is theoretically possible.

Basic concepts

A moralist, he maintained, could sum up the units of pleasure and the units of pain for everyone likely to be affected, immediately and in the future, and could take the balance as a measure of the overall good or evil tendency of an action.

Such precise measurement as Bentham envisioned is perhaps not essential, but it is nonetheless necessary for the utilitarian to make some interpersonal comparisons of the values of the effects of alternative courses of action.

The definition of utilitarianism through the views of john stuart mill and jeremy bentham

Methodologies As a normative system providing a standard by which an individual ought to act and by which the existing practices of society, including its moral code, ought to be evaluated and improved, utilitarianism cannot be verified or confirmed in the way in which a descriptive theory can, but it is not regarded by its exponents as simply arbitrary.

Bentham and Mill both believed that human actions are motivated entirely by pleasure and pain, and Mill saw that motivation as a basis for the argument that, since happiness is the sole end of human action, the promotion of happiness is the test by which to judge all human conduct.

In addition, he reasoned that utilitarianism could solve the difficulties and perplexities that arise from the vagueness and inconsistencies of commonsense doctrines. Most opponents of utilitarianism have held that it has implications contrary to their moral intuitions—that considerations of utility, for example, might sometimes sanction the breaking of a promise.

Some utilitarians, however, have sought to modify the utilitarian theory to account for the objections. Criticisms One such criticism is that, although the widespread practice of lying and stealing would have bad consequences, resulting in a loss of trustworthiness and security, it is not certain that an occasional lie to avoid embarrassment or an occasional theft from a rich person would not have good consequences and thus be permissible or even required by utilitarianism.

But the utilitarian readily answers that the widespread practice of such acts would result in a loss of trustworthiness and security. It permits a particular act on a particular occasion to be adjudged right or wrong according to whether it is in accordance with or in violation of a useful rule, and a rule is judged useful or not by the consequences of its general practice.

Another objection, often posed against the hedonistic value theory held by Bentham, holds that the value of life is more than a balance of pleasure over pain. Mill, in contrast to Bentham, discerned differences in the quality of pleasures that make some intrinsically preferable to others independently of intensity and duration the quantitative dimensions recognized by Bentham.

Some philosophers in the utilitarian tradition have recognized certain wholly nonhedonistic values without losing their utilitarian credentials. Thus, the English philosopher G. Even in limiting the recognition of intrinsic value and disvalue to happiness and unhappiness, some philosophers have argued that those feelings cannot adequately be further broken down into terms of pleasure and pain and have thus preferred to defend the theory in terms of maximizing happiness and minimizing unhappiness.

It is important to note, however, that, even for the hedonistic utilitarians, pleasure and pain are not thought of in purely sensual terms; pleasure and pain for them can be components of experiences of all sorts. Their claim is that, if an experience is neither pleasurable nor painful, then it is a matter of indifference and has no intrinsic value.

Another objection to utilitarianism is that the prevention or elimination of suffering should take precedence over any alternative act that would only increase the happiness of someone already happy.

Historical survey The ingredients of utilitarianism are found in the history of thought long before Bentham. Antecedents of utilitarianism among the ancients A hedonistic theory of the value of life is found in the early 5th century bce in the ethics of Aristippus of Cyrene, founder of the Cyrenaic school, and a century later in that of Epicurusfounder of an ethic of retirement see Epicureanismand their followers in ancient Greece.

The seeds of ethical universalism are found in the doctrines of the rival ethical school of Stoicism and in Christianity. Growth of classical English utilitarianism In the history of British philosophy, some historians have identified Bishop Richard Cumberlanda 17th-century moral philosopher, as the first to have a utilitarian philosophy.Utilitarianism was revised and expanded by Bentham's student John Stuart Mill.

In Mill's hands, "Benthamism" became a major element in the liberal conception of state policy objectives. Utilitarianism: Utilitarianism, in normative ethics, a tradition stemming from the late 18th- and 19th-century English philosophers and economists Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill according to which an action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if it .

The nature of utilitarianism

Mar 11,  · The term “Utilitarianism” was first coined by John Stuart Mill when he was editing Jeremy Bentham’s papers. It describes a consequentialist ethical system which seeks to “produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people”.

- Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill, in his Utilitarianism, turns morality into a practical problem. His moral theory is designed to help one evaluate his moral principles and senisibilites and be able to ajudicate conflictions in moral conflicts.

John Stuart Mill Jeremy Bentham. Jeremy Bentham. Utilitarianism is an incorrect moral theory. Those hypothetical scenarios are not probable.

The criticisms are straw-man arguments. clarifications and additions that will come about through the process of reflective-equilibrium. True false. Mod 4 Module 4: Utilitarianism Part 1 Read this section to give you historical background to utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, activists The Classical Version of the Theory Law, medical ethics.

Mill, John Stuart: Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy