Essay about Bentham and Mill

Submitted By jesshall07
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Pages: 4

Bentham and Mill – Utilitarianism
Bentham was basically the inventor of utilitarianism and Utilitarianism is when we wish to have more pleasure than pain and situations should ensure that pleasure outweighs pain. However Bentham refuses to define pleasure and pain philosophically and takes them at face value. Bentham saw happiness as quantitative theory and believed it could be measures, therefore Bentham put forward the idea of hedonistic calculus as a way of measuring pleasure. The hedonic calculus consists of seven suggested factors of which you should follow to measure pleasure. The seven consisted of intensity(how intense the pleasure is); duration ( how long does pleasure last); certainty(how certain is it that pleasure will be attained);Nearness ( how close is the pleasure to being obtained) ; fruitfulness(how much does the immediate pleasure generate long or short term happiness); purity (how pure is the pleasure) and extent(how many people are affected by this pleasure). However the hedonic calculus factors are nearly impossible to balance out and its inapplicable to practical situations. The reason Bentham though it would work is because he was very much an individualist who had no idea how good society was as a whole. Bentham was generally seen as an act utilitarian as he advocated the need to work out what is right or wrong based on an individual action and them deduce a rule through this however you cannot simply say he was an act utilitarian and act and rule utilitarianism cross over. There are quite a few weaknesses to Bentham’s theory as well as strengths. A main weakness of Bentham’s version is the fact that it can’t cope with emergency situations as you would not have time to measure out all the possibilities so you would have to act on instinct in case of emergencies. Another weakness is the fact that it is a self-defeating theory , morality is about giving us guidelines which we should all abide by in order to create the ideal community however if everyone acted according to it would produce a better world but its self-defeating as the world would in fact be made a worse place. However this theory does not just consist of weaknesses there are some strengths to this theory too. One of the main strengths of this theory was the fact that it was democratic, the fairest way to run something is by balancing out everyone’s differing interests which is exactly what happens in Benthams version as he chooses the situation which results in the greatest overall happiness which would be better when running countries as it would try and get the most people happiness. Another strength is the fact it’s an objective theory , you can measure the right or wrong of an action and this theory gives us an objective independent way of deciding what is right or wrong.
Mill came after Bentham and Mill’s father was best friends with Bentham. Mill had a different approach to utilitarianism and saw Utilitarianism in a broader way than Bentham. Mill was not interested in the truth but more was more interested in utility/usefulness. Mill also believed that happiness shouldn’t be an aim because if you strive to achieve happiness you cannot fulfil it. Mill also believed that we need to take into account the…