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Hume studied the works of, and corresponded with, , and it was he who first introduced a key utilitarian phrase. In (1725), Hutcheson says when choosing the most moral action, virtue is in proportion to the number of people a particular action brings happiness to. In the same way, moral evil, or vice, is proportionate to the number of people made to suffer. The best action is the one that procures the greatest happiness of the greatest numbers—and the worst is the one that causes the most misery.

Hume studied the works of, and corresponded with, , and it was he who first introduced a key utilitarian phrase. In (1725), Hutcheson says when choosing the most moral action, virtue is in proportion to the number of people a particular action brings happiness to. In the same way, moral evil, or vice, is proportionate to the number of people made to suffer. The best action is the one that procures the greatest happiness of the greatest numbers—and the worst is the one that causes the most misery.

Another positive aspect of utilitarianism is that there is a purpose to the morality. One acts morally because it causes pleasure and happiness, or prevents as much pain as possible. In fact pleasure and freedom from pain are the only ends desirable in and of themselves. This differs from the deontological concept of philosophy, where an act is not good because it causes pleasure, but only when it is done out of duty from universal maxims. This also creates problems of motivation that are avoided by Mill's Utilitarianism. According to Kant, saving a man's life for a reward or other personal gain is immoral because of the motivation, however Mill would find that this act is indeed moral because saving a life, no matter the intention, prevents the most pain and causes the most pleasure.

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Mill observes that the utilitarian's standard for judging an act is the happiness of people, not of the agent alone. Thus, a person must not value his own happiness over the happiness of others; and law and education help to instill this generosity in individuals. However, this does not mean that people's motives must only be to serve the greatest good; indeed, utilitarianism is not concerned with the motives behind an action; the morality of an action depends on the goodness of its result only. Moreover, in most aspects of everyday life, a person will not be affecting large numbers of other people, and thus need not consider his or her actions in relation to the good of all, but only to the good of those involved. It is only the people who work in the public sphere and affect many other people who must think about public utility on a regular basis.

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Mill's Utilitarianism brings an extended concept of Bentham's philosophy and a response to Kant's deontological philosophy. The basic concept of utilitarianism is to act in such a way as to create the most pleasure or the least pain. This is the guideline because, as Mill states, we desire happiness; happiness is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. However, is utilitarianism viable? There are many arguments for it, but just as many against.

Utilitarianism Act and Rule Utilitarianism | GradeSaver

Another criticism of utilitarianism is that it leaves people "cold and unsympathizing," as it is concerned solely with the consequences of people's actions, and not on the individuals as moral or immoral in themselves. First, Mill replies that if the criticism is that utilitarianism does not let the rightness or wrongness of an action be affected by the kind of person who performs the action, then this is a criticism of all morality: All ethical standards judge actions in themselves, without considering the morality of those who performed them. However, he says that if the criticism is meant to imply that many utilitarians look on utilitarianism as an exclusive standard of morality, and fail to appreciate other desirable "beauties of character," then this is a valid critique of many utilitarians. He says that it is a mistake to only cultivate moral feelings, to the exclusion of the sympathies or artistic understandings, a mistake moralists of all persuasions often make. However, he does say that if there is to be a mistake of priorities, it is preferable to err on the side of moral thinking.

Consequentialism: There are two major views of how consequences matter, Act Utilitarianism and Rule Utilitarianism. Act Utilitarianism, the original and most common position, holds that the rightness of any action depends on the consequences of that specific action. Rule Utilitarianism holds that the rightness of any action depends on whether or not that action follows a universal rule which would have good consequences if everyone followed it. Under Act Utilitarianism, the rightness of actions is evaluated on a case by case basis, and things such as rules and laws are only present if they have practical usefulness. Under Rule Utilitarianism, the utility of rules rather than actions is evaluated, and all actions should conform to the rules with the highest utility.

The essay explains the notions of both act and rule utilitarianisms, particularly on the specific examples.

Utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory

Hooker describes two aspects to the problem: act utilitarianism requires sacrifices from those who are relatively better off and also requires sacrifice of your own good even when the aggregate good will be only increased. Another way of highlighting the complaint is to say that in utilitarianism, "there is no such thing as morally permissible self-sacrifice that goes above and beyond the call of duty." Mill was quite clear about this, "A sacrifice which does not increase, or tend to increase, the sum total of happiness, it considers as wasted."


Rule-utilitarianism and Act-utilitarianism essay - Philosophy. Buy best quality custom written Rule-utilitarianism and Act-utilitarianism essay.

Hooker describes two aspects to the problem: act utilitarianism requires sacrifices from those who are relatively better off and also requires sacrifice of your own good even when the aggregate good will be only increased. Another way of highlighting the complaint is to say that in utilitarianism, "there is no such thing as morally permissible self-sacrifice that goes above and beyond the call of duty." Mill was quite clear about this, "A sacrifice which does not increase, or tend to increase, the sum total of happiness, it considers as wasted."

Utilitarianism study guide contains a biography of John Stuart Mill, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Act utilitarianism not only requires everyone to do what they can to maximize utility, but to do so without any favouritism. Mill said, "As between his own happiness and that of others, utilitarianism requires him to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator." Critics say that this combination of requirements leads to utilitarianism making unreasonable demands. The well-being of strangers counts just as much as that of friends, family or self. "What makes this requirement so demanding is the gargantuan number of strangers in great need of help and the indefinitely many opportunities to make sacrifices to help them." As Shelly Kagan says, "Given the parameters of the actual world, there is no question that …(maximally)… promoting the good would require a life of hardship, self-denial, and austerity…a life spent promoting the good would be a severe one indeed."