Utilitarianism is an ethical hypothesis usually considered to have been established by Jeremy Bentham, a nineteenth-century English thinker and social reformer. It is based on the idea of satisfaction and tries to promote and enhance it. The thought here is that everybody looks for happiness and joy, and that it is a definitive objective of every person to be cheerful and happy. So, as per traditional utilitarianism, when an individual wish to act in a morally stable way the person in question ought to endeavor to achieve the best conceivable measure of bliss for the best conceivable measure of individuals. This theory is called the best satisfaction standard theory. Another, comparable thought is that an individual ought to dependably endeavor, if unequipped for creating satisfaction and happiness, to diminish or reduce unhappiness. As the hypothesis is completely centered around after an individual’s activities, it is classed as a ‘consequentialist’ hypothesis, for example, a hypothesis that frets about outcomes and not actions in themselves.
Utilitarianism is a consequentialist hypothesis. In consequentialism, actions are judged exclusively by their outcomes, without respect to characters, inspiration, or any comprehension of good and evil and separate from their ability to make joy and pleasure. Along these lines, in utilitarianism, it is the results of our actions that decide if those actions are correct or not correct. For Bentham, characters had nothing to do with the usefulness of an action. Everybody looked for delight and kept away from agony paying little mind to identity or profound quality. Truth is told, too much dependence on the character may obscure decision-making. Whereas making moral decisions, utilitarianism gauged acts dependent on their capability to deliver the greatest (joy) for a great, people. It decided about neither the great, nor the general population who profited. In Bentham’s psyche, never again would mankind rely on erroneous and obsolete good codes. For him, utilitarianism mirrored the truth of human connections and was ordered on the planet through an authoritative action. (The Business Ethics, 2019, p.12)
Think about this perplexing circumstance. Our instructor arrives on the first day of class and makes the accompanying declaration. ‘How about we not have class all semester! We won’t let the higher people know, and we will keep it a mystery. None of us will do any work. I won’t need to educate, and you don’t need to ponder. I will give you each ‘A,’ and you can give me incredible educating assessments. We all will be glad, and the net pleasure expanded. Any problems? Class rejected!’ On one hand, the activity seems to expand utility. Nobody needs to work, and nobody is harmed. Then, again, think about that the undergraduates are Pre-med undergraduate who needs to gain proficiency with the class material to work as skilled medical caretakers. If they don’t gain proficiency with the material, it is anything but difficult to see that they will be clumsy medical caretakers. A public of clumsy medical attendants diminishes the net utility and along these lines, for this situation, dropping class diminishes net pleasure or happiness. So, utilitarianism looks for the consequences of the action rather than only looking at the instant outcomes of an action.
Utilitarianism is one of this theory that can be measured mathematically, looking at the complete units of bliss that a specific action offers ascend to. For example, you may have a decision between taking your care of your roommate’s dog and taking out your roommate’s dog for a walk or going out for food and chill with two your other friends. Envision that your roommate is desperately looking for someone who can take care of her dog while your friends are fine with you not showing up and still enjoying without you. Taking the dog for a walk may add 10 units of joy to the world’s absolute stock, though going out with friends would just include a 6. Surely, the last would fulfill a more prominent number of everyone (the previous just profiting one individual), yet it is the amount of the happiness created that is important to utilitarian. It is likewise imperative to take a consider the unbiased view of utilitarianism in this precedent; your connections are of no significance (your relationships) – it doesn’t make a difference that you are so near your associates, the best activity would even now be to take the puppy for a walk.
When human beings use this theory, they ought to find or achieve good for themselves rather than thinking about the other group of people. The theory of utilitarianism ignores the good for everyone. As indicated by utilitarianism, the actions that an individual performs at a specific time must be designed for accomplishing bliss. It focuses to increase total utility. Utilitarianism additionally centers around doing what is ethically right all with the end goal that every one of the choices that the individual chooses to take are adequate and accepted in society. It likewise expresses that one ought to dependably consider satisfying what is important to their life, and those that would prompt bliss. “People can make moral decisions according to strict utilitarianism” (Gray & Schein, 2012, p. 38)
So, how was the theory originated, what was the real meaning behind the theory and how did it evolve? “Though the first systematic account of utilitarianism was developed by Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), the basics of the hypothesis were discovered much before. The rules are based morally, and the behavior will not harm others, rather it will increase happiness or utility. What is different about utilitarianism is its approach in taking that basic and to develop a principle of moral screening and the moral path that expands on it” (Driver, 2004, p. 6). “He broadly held that people were administered by two sovereign masters — pleasure and pain” (Perry; Bratman & Fischer, 2010, p. 457). However, he also proclaimed the guideline of utility as the standard of right activities with respect to governments and people. Actions are endorsed when they are, for example, to advance joy, or delight, and opposed when they tend to cause despondency or agony. Join this business of rightness with a view that we should be viably endeavoring to produce happiness, and one has a certifiable oppositeness with mental vanity. Bentham accepted that he could suit the two obligations tentatively, that is, by noting that when individuals act for doing something great, they are helping themselves, as well. Be that as it may, this case simply serves, Bentham’s kind declaration of his views — perceives manners of thinking of actions that are self-interested. Be that as it may, this event shows up, yet again, in battle with his one of a kind details of the system for settling on good choices to concentrate on personal responsibility — for sure, the expansion of a degree as a parameter along which to measure pleasure delivered recognizes this methodology from moral selfishness. (The History of Utilitarianism, 2004, p. 26)
However, let us look more carefully at Bentham’s utilitarianism. To comprehend his method more completely, it is indispensable that one gone to a valuation for precisely what he meant by ‘happiness and pleasure’. His thoughts here are extremely straightforward. Bentham felt that we should see pleasure as being founded on happiness. Normally, it pursues from this that he also felt that we should regard hope or courage as something comprised of pain. This view on joy has driven his specific image of utilitarianism to be viewed as an indulgent hypothesis. Besides, Bentham did not recognize various types of delight. To him, anything that offered ascends to satisfaction – be it killing or drug’s – was in a general sense great.
But as Bentham wanted humans to promote the theory with righteous actions and coming up with the good of the greatest people, it wasn’t right. People simply see good for themselves rather than seeing for several individuals. He wanted us to increase pleasure with less pain. An action is only considered good if it maximizes net happiness. For example, imagine I killed one solid individual and gave their organs to spare five others. The parity of happiness over sadness bolsters doing this, however, we realize that it isn’t right. So, the pleasure here comes from saving the life of other five people and making their family happy, whereas the pain is killing one person and making that person’s family sad. So, the sum of pain and pleasure here is considered as a poor moral guide as we are killing one to save others. At the point when called upon to settle on an ethical choice one measures an action’s with keeping all these features in mind: power (how much the joy or torment is), span (for how long can it be felt), confirmation (how likely the pain or the pleasure going to result in good or desirable consequence), region (how many relationships the action is going to affect), virtue (how much intermixture there is with the other sensation). One additionally thinks about degree — the sum of individuals influenced by the activity. (The History of Utilitarianism, 2004, p. 30). So, how one can measure pain and pleasure also should depend on the criteria listed above so that the theory of utilitarianism doesn’t count as being a poor moral guide as it just considers the pain and pleasure. But these criteria do not affect the theory of life on which this theory is based on. (Perry; Bratman & Fischer, 2010, p. 461). This is what Miller said and this is utilitarianism.
Today utilitarianism frequently depicts points of interest and drawbacks as far as the fulfillment of individual inclinations or in financial terms of money-related advantages over fiscal expenses. (Santa Clara University, 2019, p. 6). People tend to use the theory of utilitarianism simply to see how it benefits them and not the other people. This event doesn’t really consider the main idea which is the greatest good for most people. Suppose a businessman wants to build a big shopping center in a rural area where there are already a lot of slum areas and people don’t even have a proper house to live. But he pays to the people and shift them into the other areas. Here, people think that an individual is only looking for his benefits from his action. But then the shopping center made shall benefit a lot of people. Therefore, pleasure is more than pain and so it’s the good for the greatest number because he compensates to those people living in the slum area and the mall built will make more people happy. People simply act righteously considering what they can do to minimize the pain. Taking consideration into another example, suppose if most people are firmly against homosexuality; this world legitimizes laws against rehearsing homosexuality. This action is unclear with what is right and what is not. This action is not what utilitarianism is all about. It allows people to practice whatever they want rather than only eliminating those practices. It just considers what will be a result of people’s actions. As here if being homosexual is harming people than we need to stop it; but just because the majority of people don’t like doesn’t mean we need to stop it.
“Utilitarianism cannot protect the rights of minorities if the goal is the greatest good for the greatest number. Americans in the eighteenth century could justify slavery on the basis that it provided a good consequence for most Americans. Certainly, the majority benefited from cheap slave labor even though the lives of black slaves were much worse” (Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest number, 2004, p.22). If we look at this example above, then it is not even morally right to make people slaves and have them work for others’ own benefits. So, the major drawback of this theory is that it doesn’t consider the minority even if the action performed by most is not morally good or satisfied. So, the theory of Utilitarianism cannot support the basic sort of moral judgment that many of us want to make. (Nelson, 2015, p. 1). But if the 59% of people are against the rest of 41% of people; that says that we are making the greatest number of people happy. That’s what the Theory of Utilitarianism is all about.
After gaining a better insight into the theory of utilitarianism, the two key concepts in the utilitarianism theory are – consequences and actions. Utilitarianism holds that most moral decision is the one that will deliver the best use for the best number. It is the main good system that can be utilized to support military power or war. It is likewise a most well-known way to deal with good thinking utilized in business considering how it represents expenses and advantages. Utilitarianism is the most decent and maybe correct approach sometimes in determining what is good and bad.
- Bratman M; Fischer J; Perry J. 2010. Intro to Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press
- Calculating consequences: The Utilitarian Approach to Ethics. (2019). Santa Clara University. Retrieved from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/calculating-consequences-the-utilitarian-approach/
- Driver, Julia, ‘The History of Utilitarianism’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =.
- Gray, K., & Schein, C. (2012). Two minds vs two philosophies: Mind perception defines morality and dissolves the debate between deontology and utilitarianism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 3(3), 405–423. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13164-012-0112-5
- Nelson, M. (2015). What the Utilitarian Cannot Think. Ethical Theory & Moral Practice, 18(4), 717–729. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-015-9599-z
- Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number. (2019). Business Ethics. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/businessethicsopenstax/chapter/utilitarianism-the-greatest-good-for-the-greatest-number/#rf-011-a
- Utilitarianism: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number. (2004, May 27). Probe for answers. Retrieved from https://probe.org/utilitarianism-the-greatest-good-for-the-greatest-number/#text1