Utilitarianism Essay Research Paper UtilitarianismWhat things are

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Utilitarianism Essay, Research Paper Utilitarianism What things are good? What actions are right? Utilitarianism is a moral principle defined by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill that can help answer these questions. The whole basis of Utilitarianism is that pleasure is good, pain is bad and every action one takes should maximize pleasure and minimize pain. In this paper I will argue that although in principle this moral theory sounds great, in the practical business world, this theory fails to always result in the correct moral action. Utilitarianism can be simply put as the theory that strives to result in the greatest happiness of the greatest number. In Utilitarianism, happiness is the only thing that is desirable. The utilitarian doctrine is that happiness is

desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things being desirable as means to that end. According to the theory, an action is good if it brings happiness. The foundation of Utilitarianism comes from the Principle of Utility. The Principle of Utility says that one should act in a way that will bring more pleasure and less pain. By the Principle of Utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question. According to Bentham, we are all controlled by two masters, pain and pleasure. The theory of Utilitarianism says that we should act in a way that will maximize utility, which is really saying that we

should act in a way that will maximize pleasure and minimize pain. An action is right if it brings goodness and prevents pain; it is wrong if it does the opposite. When Utilitarianism takes into account the value of pleasure and pain, it is not the pleasure or pain of just one person that is taken into consideration. Utilitarianism is concerned with the interest of the community and no one person s happiness is counted as more important than anyone else s. This is different from the theory of Hedonism, which underlies Utilitarianism. Hedonism says, things are good or bad only on account of the way they make us feel. To determine how much happiness an action will bring, one must calculate how much pleasure it will bring and subtract how much pain it may cause. When this

calculation is done, it is measured by four circumstances: intensity, duration, certainty/uncertainty, and closeness/remoteness. The calculation must also take into account the pain and pleasure it will cause everyone whom this action will affect. In Utilitarianism no one is granted special consideration, everyone s pain and pleasure is weighted equally. The balance of pleasure and pain for each person affected is added together and the action that will result in the greatest amount of pleasure for each person involved is the right action. This is to say that if Mr. Smith, Mrs. James, and Mr. Harris are all trying to decide which restaurant to go to on their lunch hour, they should consider the amount of pleasure one restaurant will cause Smith and subtract the amount of pain it

will cause him. This should be done for all three of them for each restaurant they are considering. When they are done, the restaurant with the greatest amount of pleasure for Smith, James, and Harris will be the right choice for lunch. Not only does this calculation find a restaurant for lunch, it also results in the greatest happiness for all the people involved. A theory that strives to achieve the most happiness for the most people sounds like a great doctrine for people to base their decisions on, but Utilitarianism has many objections. The first objection is to Hedonism, which says things are good or bad based only on how they make us feel. In some cases, this seems to get things backward. There are many times when we are unhappy because something bad has happened. This