The Ethics And Moral Philosophy

2153 Words9 Pages
According to the online guide to ethics and moral philosophy, “Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory that places the focus of right and wrong solely on the outcomes (consequences) of choosing on action/policy over other actions/policies. As such, it moves beyond the scope of one’s own interests and takes into account the interests of others” (Online n.d). In simpler vernacular, utilitarianism is the view that the morally right action is the action that increases utility or does the most good. The utilitarian view is to maximize the overall good which contrasts the typical egotistical view which puts the needs of oneself above the needs of others. In Utilitarianism, everyone’s happiness counts the same. There is no “I” before “we or you”, there is just what is best for everyone involved.
One of the classical utilitarian’s, Jeremy Bentham, used this theory to analyze legal topics and incite social reform. Bentham believed that humans were ruled by two entities – pain and pleasure. According to Bentham, we actively seek pleasure while actively avoiding pain. Bentham believes that they “…govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think…” (Bentham PML, 1). This comes with the basic association that actions that promote happiness (pleasure) are acceptable and actions that cause unhappiness (pain) are unacceptable. This basic assumption leads to what Bentham describes to be an act-evaluation versus a character evaluation. The issue with a character evaluation, which
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