AS UTILITARIANISM EXAMPLE EXAM ANSWERS

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1 AS UTILITARIANISM EXAMPLE EXAM ANSWERS

2 The general principles of Utilitarianism: consequential or teleological thinking in contrast to deontological thinking: The greatest happiness principle;

3 AO1 Explain the general principles of Utilitarianism including reference to both Act and Rule Utilitarianism In the following essay in order to illustrate the general principles of Utilitarianism; I will first introduce the general principles of Utilitarianism as a theory, secondly I will explain the principles of Bentham and Mill, and finally I will pay refer to the principles of Act and Rule Utilitarianism. Teleological ethics is one of the principles on which Utilitarianism is based. They focus on the consequences/result which any action might have. Thus, in order to make correct moral choices, we have to have some understanding of what will result from our choices. When we make choices which result in the correct consequences, then we are acting morally; when we make choices which result in the incorrect consequences, then we are acting immorally. A deontological approach is the opposite to this because it focuses on the act itself. Utilitarianism is an example of a teleological theory because an actions morality is based on whether its consequence brings the Greatest Happiness. This Greatest Happiness Principle or the Principle of Utility, or the The greatest happiness for the greatest number is the main principle of a number of ethical theories that fall under the umbrella of Utilitarianism. It was Jeremy Bentham who first developed these general principles into fully articulated theory. It was he who introduced the principle of utility to refer only to individual actions by individuals, its simple message being that the more happiness produced by these actions the better the world will be. E.g. Would the individual act of a woman having an abortion produce the most happiness and make the world a better place? He defined Good in terms of pleasure or happiness so an act is right or wrong according to the good or bad that results from the act and the good act is the most pleasurable. Therefore, if an abortion brought more happiness than sadness, under Bentham s thinking it would be the right thing to do. Since it focuses on the greatest number, Bentham s theory is quantitative.(e.g. The amount of happiness is what matters-

4 if killing one person made 100 people happy it would be acceptable because it is the amount of people happy that matters) Jeremy Bentham believed that by adding up the amounts of pleasure and pain for each possible act we should be able to choose the good thing to do. Happiness equalled pleasure minus pain. For example the death penalty gives many people pleasure because they feel protected because a murderer has died, they also feel it will deter others committing the crime etc. This is at the expense of the pain of one person i.e. the death of the murderer. Bentham provided a way of measuring pleasure and pain he called this the hedonic calculus. It has seven criteria: 1. Intensity-How strong is the pleasure? 2. Duration-How long the pleasure will last? 3. Certainty-How likely or unlikely is it that the pleasure? 4. Remoteness-How soon will the pleasure occur? 5. Fecundity-What is the likelihood that a succession of pleasures will follow? 6. Purity-How secure is the pleasure? 7. Extent How many people will be affected? This calculus gave Bentham a method of testing whether an action is morally right in that if it was good it would result in the most pleasurable outcome, having weighed up all the elements. Peter Vardy in The Puzzle of Ethics cites the case of a young pregnant woman who is planning a ski trip. If she chooses to abort the pregnancy in order to ski, the pleasure will be minor and temporary; if she chooses to abandon the holiday, the long lasting and intense pleasure of having the child will outweigh her initial disappointment. Bentham s Utilitarianism sees the highest good as the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Actions are judged as a means, to an end. For example it would be acceptable to lie to save a persons life because the end (result) justifies the means (the action of lying.)bentham argued that we should be guided by the principle of utility and not by rules. However, it may be necessary to use rules of thumb based on past experience, especially if there is no time to work out the consequences. John Stuart Mill sought to address the weaknesses that had been found in Bentham s principally quantitative approach. Mill maintained that the well-being of the individual was of greatest importance and that happiness is most

5 effectively gained when individuals are free to pursue their own goals subject to the rules that govern us all. Mill accepted the utility principle the greatest good for the greatest number, but in recognising the dangers that such an approach posed he developed a qualitative approach i.e. it is the quality of happiness that is important not the quantity. This approach stops the majority achieving a goal simply because they are in the majority and it will bring happiness for them after all the minority who disagree with the action may be in the right like those in Nazi Germany who opposed the Holocaust. Another example would be if a group of sadistic guards are torturing a prisoner. If the guard s pleasure outweighs the prisoner s pain, then according to the hedonic calculus the action is justified!! Therefore the morally acceptable action to the quantitative utilitarian may in fact be unjust. He also distinguished between higher and lower pleasures with the higher pleasures being qualitatively (i.e. the quality of the pleasure) better and more important than the lower pleasures. The pleasure gained by the guards in the example above would be regarded a lower pleasure. Mill famously quoted It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. You may find a life in pursuit of higher pleasures more difficult but it will be more rewarding and of a better quality. He maintained that the pleasures of the mind were higher than those of the body. Mill believed that to pursue purely bodily pleasures food, drink, drugs and sex was not as high an objective as those that are intellectually demanding philosophy, poetry, conversation etc. A competent judge, to Mill is one who has experiences of both types of pleasure and when choosing between the pleasures of philosophy and the pleasure of drugs, they will prefer the pleasure of philosophy and therefore it becomes a higher pleasure. The theories of Bentham and Mill lead us onto the basic principles of both act and Rule Utilitarianism. The distinction between act and rule Utilitarianism is to do with what the principle of utility is applied to. According to Act Utilitarianism the principle is applied directly to a particular action in a particular circumstance. According to Rule Utilitarianism the principle is applied to a selection of (a set) of rules which are in turn used to determine what to do in particular situations.

6 Act Utilitarianism is usually associated with Bentham. Its general principles can be explained as follows. A person must decide what action will lead to the greatest good in the particular situation you are facing and apply the principle of utility directly. They need to look at the consequences of a particular act and what will bring about the greatest happiness. Since the same act might in some situations produce the greatest good for the greatest number, but in other situations not, Utilitarianism allows moral rules to change from age to age, from situation to situation. There are no necessary moral rules with the exception of one that we should always seek the greatest happiness for the greatest number in all situations. Rule Utilitarianism is usually linked to the utilitarianism of Mill. Rule utilitarian s believe that rules should be formed using utilitarian principles for the benefit of society. An action is judged right or wrong by the goodness or badness of the consequences of a rule that everyone should follow in similar circumstances. Rule Utilitarianism enables us to establish rules which will promote the happiness of humanity and will generally be right in most circumstances (e.g. telling the truth, keeping your promises). Strong Rule utilitarian s believe that these rules created to bring the greatest happiness should never be disobeyed. Weak Rule utilitarian s say that although there should be generally accepted rules or guidelines, they should not always be adhered to indefinitely. There may be situations where the better consequence might be achieved by disregarding the rule. An example of this would be ignoring the rule don t lie if you are hiding a Jewish Prisoner Of War in your house, and a Nazi soldier asks you if you have seen them. Cleary it is necessary to lie in this situation to preserve the life of the POW.

7 Bentham s Utilitarianism, the hedonic calculus Mill s Utilitarianism, quality over quantity

8 AO1 Explain how a Utilitarian might use the hedonic calculus in making moral decisions. Illustrate your answer with reference to any ethical issue(s) of your choice. (Do not choose abortion or euthanasia.) (30 marks) As a teleological theory Utilitarianism focuses on the consequences/result which any action might have (for that reason, they are often referred to as consequentialist moral systems). As a key part of Jeremy Bentham s Utilitarianism the Hedonic Calculus measures the happiness brought by the result of an action; it will not focus simply on the act itself as with deontological approaches. Bentham s Utilitarianism believed that an action was morally acceptable if the outcome brought the maximum amount of happiness and the minimum amount of pain. The purpose of the Hedonic Calculus is to measure the amount of pleasure and pain that a particular situation will produce. It has seven criteria: 1. Intensity-How strong is the pleasure? 2. Duration-How long the pleasure will last? 3. Certainty-How likely or unlikely is it that the pleasure? 4. Remoteness-How soon will the pleasure occur? 5. Fecundity-What is the likelihood that a succession of pleasures will follow? 6. Purity-How secure is the pleasure? 7. Extent How many people will be affected? Therefore when applying these criteria to the use of condoms there will be occasions where the use of condoms will produce more pleasure than pain and the use of condoms will be considered moral by a Utilitarian. However on occasions where the calculus considers that the amount of pain produced by the use of condoms will outweigh the pleasure produced, it will be considered immoral. To clarify the Hedonic Calculus can be applied to support the use of condoms when the consequences of their use bring the greatest happiness or pleasure and reject their use when it does not. Although neither Jeremy Bentham nor John Stuart Mill commented on the use of condoms, it is possible to consider how their theories may be applied to an ethical issue.

9 For example the Hedonic calculus could be used to support the use of condoms. The spread of HIV in Africa could be dramatically reduced by greater use of condoms. The use of condoms saving lives would reduce the intensity of pain experienced, by preventing an individual and their family suffering the pain of illness through HIV, and ultimately death if the correct medication is not available. The duration and certainty of the success would be long term both for the individual and society as condoms are an effective way of preventing STI s. The chance of the pleasure being followed by further pleasure (fecundity) would be high as the impact of condoms reducing the spread of HIV is likely to lead to greater use in general. The actual use of contraception is free from pain and therefore has purity. The extent would be great as it would benefit millions of people both directly and indirectly. It could benefit people indirectly for example, because children wouldn t lose their parents, and they would grow up happier, which in turn could make their children s future partners happier because they don t have to deal with their partners depression from losing their parents and so on. The Hedonic calculus could be used to reject the use of condoms. For example if the consequence of using of condoms is promiscuity, broken marriages and affairs. The impact of this result would increase the intensity of the pain experienced by heartbroken partners and children in affected families. The duration and certainty of condoms leading to affairs would be long term and assured because they offer the opportunity for casual sex with only a small chance of an unwanted pregnancy. The chance of the pain being followed by further pain (fecundity) is certain as the impact of an affair and betrayal of this nature is widespread. Casual sex, possible prostitution and affairs caused by condoms lack purity. The extent of the pain would be great as it would impact on millions of people both directly and indirectly. It could upset people indirectly for example, work colleagues often feel the pain of their colleagues (and have to support those colleagues) who have suffered from an affair. There is also the direct impact on the children of a family whose parents have split up as a result of an affair. For clarity-this is only the case if promiscuity, broken marriages and affairs are a consequence of the availability of condoms.

10 In summary it is clear that the Hedonic calculus can be applied both in favour and against the use of condoms. It simply depends on whether the consequence of its use brings the greatest amount of happiness through the maximisation of pleasure and minimisation of pain. This is due to the fact unlike Mill Bentham is not concerned with the quality of the happiness but simply the amount.

11 AO1 Explain Mill s Utilitarianism and how it may be applied to one ethical issue other than abortion or euthanasia. (30 marks) For the purpose of this essay. I will use the issue as to whether the use of condom is moral or not when applying the Utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill. As a teleological theory his utilitarianism can be applied to support the use of Condoms when the consequences of their use bring the greatest happiness/pleasure and reject their use when it does not. Mill never commented on the use of condoms, howver it is possible to consider his theory may be applied to the issue. I will therefore illustrate how the consequences of the use of a condom can determine whether their use is moral or not. As such Mill can be applied both against and in favour of the use of condoms depending on the consequences the action bring. Firstly I will illustrate how his theory can be applied in favour of their use and against. Mill accepted the utility principle the greatest good for the greatest number, but in recognising the dangers that such an approach posed he developed a qualitative approach i.e. it is the quality of happiness that is important not the quantity. This approach stops the majority achieving a goal simply because they are in the majority and it will bring happiness for them. He also distinguished between higher and lower pleasures with the higher pleasures being qualitatively (i.e. the quality of the pleasure) better and more important than the lower pleasures. Mill famously quoted It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. You may find a life in pursuit of higher pleasures more difficult but it will be more rewarding and of a better quality. He maintained that the pleasures of the mind were higher than those of the body. Mill believed that to pursue purely bodily pleasures food, drink, drugs and sex was not as high an objective as those that are intellectually demanding philosophy, poetry, conversation etc. A competent judge, to Mill is one who has experiences of both types of pleasure and when choosing between the pleasures of philosophy and the pleasure of drugs, they will prefer the pleasure of philosophy and therefore it becomes a higher pleasure. As such, Mill can be applied against the use of condoms as he would see sex for pleasure as a lower pleasure. Sex for pleasure is a lower pleasure as it is a physical pleasure. Also it is without the consequence of being a parent which

12 could be seen to be a higher pleasure. However it could be argued using the same logic, that Mill can be applied against the use of condoms. The reason for this is that some individuals and cultures would argue that sex can be considered a higher pleasure for it stimulates both mind and body. Mill is sometimes described as a rule utilitarian. Rule utilitarian s believe that rules should be formed using utilitarian principles for the benefit of society. An action is judged right or wrong by the goodness or badness of the consequences of a rule that everyone should follow in similar circumstances. Rule Utilitarianism enables us to establish rules which will promote the happiness of humanity and will generally be right in most circumstances (e.g. telling the truth, keeping your promises). Strong Rule utilitarian s believe that these rules created to bring the greatest happiness should never be disobeyed. Weak Rule utilitarian s say that although there should be generally accepted rules or guidelines, they should not always be adhered to indefinitely. There may be situations where the better consequence might be achieved by disregarding the rule. This can be applied to condoms in the following way. A rule could be created which brings the greatest happiness. For example the use of condoms should not be used because if applied to the greatest number i.e. The world it would lead to extinction of mankind. A strong rule Utilitarian would stick to this rule. A weak rule utilitarian might take this approach- Contraception should not be used except when it would bring the greatest good and it is necessary to break the rule. E.g. to prevent the spread of STI s and unwanted pregnancy. Again, however using the same logic. A rule utilitarian could wish to preserve life. Therefore it would be necessary to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Condoms could be justified therefore in this sort of scenario. In summary it can be seen that Mill s Utilitarianism can be applied both in favour, and against the use of Condom depending on the consequences that their use brings. This is unless you consider Mill to be a strong rule utilitarian, as if this is the case it seems that his theory collapses into deontology and it would depend on which rule regarding condoms maximises the greatest happiness.

13 Act and Rule utilitarianism

14 Explain how moral decisions should be made according to: Act Utilitarianism, and Rule Utilitarianism To understand how moral decisions are made in accordance with Act Utilitarianism, it is necessary to understand the Utilitarianism of Bentham. As is the case with Mill, and Rule Utilitarianism. Although neither described themselves as such; Bentham s theory is the first example of Act Utilitarianism, and Mill s is the first example of Rule. As such this essay will explain firstly the approach of Bentham and Act to making moral decisions. Secondly how Mill and Rule make moral decisions, and finally a summary of how the two do this.. It was Bentham who introduced the principle of utility to refer only to individual actions by individuals, it s simple message being that the more happiness produced by moral decisions the better the world will be. An example of this in terms of a moral choice is; Would the individual act of a woman having an abortion produce the most happiness and make the world a better place? He defined Good in terms of pleasure or happiness so an act is right or wrong according to the good or bad that results from the act and the good act is the most pleasurable. An example of this as a moral decision is, if an abortion brought more happiness than sadness, it would be the right thing to do. Since it focuses on the greatest number, Bentham s in line with Act Utilitarianism would make moral choices on a quantitative basis is (e.g. in terms of moral decisions, the amount of happiness is what matters-if killing one person made 100 people happy it would be acceptable because it is the amount of people happy that matters) Jeremy Bentham believed that by adding up the amounts of pleasure and pain for each possible act we should be able to choose the correct moral decision. Happiness equalled pleasure minus pain. For example in terms of a moral decision; the death penalty gives many people pleasure because they feel protected because a murderer has died, they also feel it will deter others committing the crime etc. This is at the expense of the pain of one person i.e. the death of the murderer. Bentham provided a way of measuring pleasure and pain he called this the hedonic calculus. It has seven criteria. ( Intensity-How strong is the pleasure?duration-how long the pleasure will last Certainty-How

15 likely or unlikely is it that the pleasure?remoteness-how soon will the pleasure occur?fecundity-what is the likelihood that a succession of pleasures will follow? Purity-How secure is the pleasure? Extent How many people will be affected?) This calculus gave Bentham a method for making moral decisions ie. an action is morally right in that if it was good it would result in the most pleasurable outcome, having weighed up all the elements. An example Peter Vardy in The Puzzle of Ethics cites the moral decision of a young pregnant woman who is planning a ski trip. If she chooses to abort the pregnancy in order to ski, the pleasure will be minor and temporary; if she chooses to abandon the holiday, the long lasting and intense pleasure of having the child will outweigh her initial disappointment. Bentham s Utilitarianism sees the highest good as the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Actions are judged as a means, to an end. For example it would be acceptable to lie to save a persons life because the end (result) justifies the means (the action of lying.) Bentham argued that we should be guided by the principle of utility and not by rules. However, it may be necessary to use rules of thumb based on past experience, especially if there is no time to work out the consequences. The term Act Utilitarianism was developed from and mirrors the Utilitarianism of Bentham. A person must morally decide what action will lead to the greatest good in the particular moral decision (situation) you are facing and apply the principle of utility directly. They need to look at the consequences of a particular act and what will bring about the greatest happiness. Since the same act might in some situations produce the greatest good for the greatest number, but in other situations not, Utilitarianism allows moral rules to change from age to age, from situation to situation. There are no necessary moral rules with the exception of one that we should always seek the greatest happiness for the greatest number in all situations. John Stuart Mill sought to address the weaknesses that had been found in Bentham s principally quantitative approach. Mill maintained that the well-being of the individual was of greatest importance and that happiness is most effectively gained when individuals are free to pursue their own goals subject to the rules that govern us all. As such it is clear why it is sometimes described as Rule Utilitarianism.

16 Mill accepted the utility principle the greatest good for the greatest number, but in recognising the dangers that such an approach posed he developed a qualitative approach i.e. it is the quality of happiness that is important not the quantity. Another example of this leading to a moral decision if a group of sadistic guards are torturing a prisoner. If the guard s pleasure outweighs the prisoner s pain, then according to the hedonic calculus the action is justified!! Mill recognises this to be unjust and would act in the opposite manner. He also distinguished between higher and lower pleasures with the higher pleasures being qualitatively (i.e. the quality of the pleasure) better and more important than the lower pleasures. The pleasure gained by the guards in the example above would be regarded a lower pleasure and unacceptable. Mill famously quoted It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. You may find a life in pursuit of higher pleasures more difficult but it will be more rewarding and of a better quality. He maintained that the pleasures of the mind were higher than those of the body. A competent judge, to Mill is one who has experiences of both types of pleasure and when choosing between the pleasures of philosophy and the pleasure of drugs, they will prefer the pleasure of philosophy and therefore a moral decision is one that chooses the higher pleasures. Rule utilitarian s in line with Mill believe that rules should be formed using utilitarian principles for the benefit of society. A moral action or decision is judged right or wrong by the goodness or badness of the consequences of a rule that everyone should follow in similar circumstances. Rule Utilitarianism enables us to establish rules which will promote the happiness of humanity and will generally be right in most circumstances (e.g. telling the truth, keeping your promises). Strong Rule utilitarian s believe that these rules created to bring the greatest happiness should never be disobeyed. Weak Rule utilitarian s say that although there should be generally accepted rules or guidelines, they should not always be adhered to indefinitely. There may be situations (moral decisions) where the better consequence might be achieved by disregarding the rule. An example of a moral decision would be ignoring the rule don t lie if you are hiding a Jewish Prisoner Of War in your house, and a Nazi soldier asks you if you have seen them. Cleary it is necessary to lie in this situation to preserve the life of the POW.

17 In summary the distinction between Act and Rule Utilitarianism is to do with what the principle of utility is applied to. According to Act Utilitarianism the principle is applied directly to a particular action/moral decision in a particular circumstance. According to Rule Utilitarianism the principle is applied to a selection of (a set) of rules which are in turn used to determine what to decide morally in particular situations.

18 The application of Situation Bentham and Mill to one ethical issue of the candidate s choice apart from abortion and euthanasia. (Condoms)

19 AO1 Examine how Bentham s Utilitarianism may be applied to one ethical issue of your choice. (Do not choose abortion or euthanasia.) (30 marks) For the purpose of this essay. I will use the issue as to whether the use of condom is moral or not when applying the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham. As a teleological theory his utilitarianism can be applied to support the use of Condoms when the consequences of their use bring the greatest happiness/pleasure and reject their use when it does not. Bentham never commented on the use of condoms, it is possible to consider how his theory may be applied to the issue. I will therefore illustrate how the consequences of the use of a condom can determine whether their use is moral or not. As such Bentham can be applied both against and in favour of the use of condoms depending on the consequences the action bring. Firstly I will illustrate how his theory can be applied in favour of their use and against. Bentham would consider that the use of condoms should be rejected if the amount of pain it caused outweighed its pleasure. For example -Some thinkers argue that contraception can lead to promiscuity and broken marriages because it allows people to sleep around without the fear of pregnancy. Therefore the pain of broken marriages and the effect it has on the children involved would seem to outweigh the pleasure of the act of sex without the risk of pregnancy. It must be acknowledged that artificial contraception and condoms in particular does not always guarantee prevention of pregnancy/unwanted children/sti s. The only way to achieve the greatest happiness principle would be celibacy or family planning within a marriage setting. The Hedonic calculus could be used to reject the use of condoms. For example if the consequence of using of condoms is promiscuity, broken marriages and affairs. The impact of this result would increase the intensity of the pain experienced by heartbroken partners and children in affected families. The duration and certainty of condoms leading to affairs would be long term and assured because they offer the opportunity for casual sex with only a small chance of an unwanted pregnancy. The chance of the pain being followed by further pain (fecundity) is certain as the impact of an affair and betrayal of this nature is widespread. Casual sex, possible prostitution and affairs caused by condoms lack purity. The extent of the pain would be great as it would impact on millions of people both directly and indirectly. It could upset people indirectly for example, work colleagues often feel the pain of their colleagues (and have to support those colleagues) who have suffered from an affair. There

20 is also the direct impact on the children of a family whose parents have split up as a result of an affair. For clarity-this is only the case if promiscuity, broken marriages and affairs are a consequence of the availability of condoms. On the other hand in simple numerical terms it could be argued that Bentham would support the use of condoms because using basic terms all sex brings pleasure and the use of condoms seems to remove much of the potential pain by removing the threat of unwanted pregnancy and unloved children. Perhaps Bentham would support he use of condoms between husband and wife within marriage would be championed as it allows the pleasure gained from the sexual act, as well as the unititive aspect of the act (i.e. bringing the couple closer together) and the ability to limit family size and so increase the quality of life (financial and emotional) of all those in the family group. The Hedonic calculus could also be used to support the use of condoms. The spread of HIV in Africa could be dramatically reduced by greater use of condoms. The use of condoms saving lives would reduce the intensity of pain experienced, by preventing an individual and their family suffering the pain of illness through HIV, and ultimately death if the correct medication is not available. The duration and certainty of the success would be long term both for the individual and society as condoms are an effective way of preventing STI s. The chance of the pleasure being followed by further pleasure (fecundity) would be high as the impact of condoms reducing the spread of HIV is likely to lead to greater use in general. The actual use of contraception is free from pain and therefore has purity. The extent would be great as it would benefit millions of people both directly and indirectly. It could benefit people indirectly for example, because children wouldn t lose their parents, and they would grow up happier, which in turn could make their children s future partners happier because they don t have to deal with their partners depression from losing their parents and so on.

21 Strengths and weaknesses of the ethical systems of Bentham and Mill

22 AO2 Utilitarianism is so easy, anyone can use it as a method of moral decision making. How far do you agree? (15 marks) In this essay I will evaluate whether Utilitarianism is so easy, anyone can use it as a method of moral decision making. I will firstly examine the evidence which supports this statement. I will then examine the evidence which rejects this statement and ultimately conclude that Utilitarianism is ultimately difficult to use as a method of decision making and therefore not so easy that anyone can use it. At first sight it is clear why many people consider that Utilitarianism easy as a method of moral decision making. Firstly, Bentham s Utilitarianism, is straight forward and based on the single principle of minimising pain and maximising pleasure and happiness. A system which aims to create a happier life for individuals and groups is attractive. Often it seems straightforward to predict consequences, for example giving your employees an extra day off would be gratefully accepted by the overwhelming majority. Also the impact of your decision relates to actions which can be observed in the real world. For example giving to charity promotes happiness for poor people and is seen to be good, whereas an act of cruelty is condemned as bad. This does suggest that Utilitarianism is a simple system to follow however it will become clear from the evidence below that Utilitarianism is actually more complicated to use for moral decision than it seems. Although it is good to consider the consequences of our actions, but these are difficult to predict with any accuracy e.g. the case of Jean Charles de Menezes highlights this. Secondly The quantitative approach of Bentham poses problems, as it is extremely difficult to make moral choices, all we can really do is guess the units of pleasure how do we measure one pleasure against another? Should we try to maximise the average happiness or the total happiness e.g. should the government give tax cuts for the minority with the lowest income or spread the cuts more thinly across all tax payers? Bentham would allow an evil majority to prevail over a good minority and the exploitation of minority groups does this not go against what we would consider ethical behaviour? This certainly does not appear to be an easy system to use. The Hedonic Calculus is also extremely complex to use, how the duration of happiness can be predicted, how can the intensity of an event be measured-it is extremely difficult to measure this.

23 Further to the approach of Mill is often unclear and complex, just which pleasures are higher and which lower. E.g. is the pleasure of drinking a higher or lower pleasure? Does it not depend on what you are drinking? Ernest Hemingway in his novel Death in the Afternoon considers drinking wine to be a higher pleasure wine is one of the most civilised things in the world. From the above evidence above, it does seem that although Utilitarianism may be an effective theory to use making moral decisions, It is clear that the predicting consequences is complex, using the hedonic calculus is diifcult as is distingusihing between higher and lower pleasures. As such it does seem clear that suing Utilitarianism is not easy, and certainly not everyone is capable of using it.

24 Which is more important the ending of pain and suffering, or the increase of pleasure?

25 AO2 Ending pain should always be more important than increasing pleasure. To what extent would a Utilitarian agree with this view? (15 marks) The philosopher Sir Karl Popper suggests that the ending of pain should always be important than ending pain. This approach is known as Negative utilitarianism and it recommends the reduction or minimising of pain. Popper is clear that by pain he means suffering actual pain not just unhappiness. It does seem just that the ending of pain such as famine and disease is more important than increasing the pleasure that a person may experience in celebrating a sports victory. E.g. Can the pleasure that 40 million people would experience from watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics, ever outweigh the pain experienced by the homeless or starving? At first sight this appears a strong argument as we are are emtionally drawn to consider that ending famine etc is more important than simply enjoying ourselves. David Pearce, author of The Hedonistic Imperative appears to support Poppers argument, he believes that no pain, physical or emotional, is necessary. On the contrary, he argues that we should strive to eradicate suffering in all sentient life (sentient meaning capable of experiencing/ feeling pleasure and pain) a project which he describes as technically feasible thanks to genetic engineering and nanotechnology, and ethically mandatory (i.e. This is morally the only acceptable course of action) on utilitarian grounds. We are again drawn to this argument as it does seem ethically mandatory to end pain, also it seems easier to define what constitutes pain than what constitutes happiness. It does though seem that both Pearce and Popper have a reductionist approach to living one s life. As the Philosopher Peter Barron s teaching implies surley there is more to life than simply reducing pain. It is an increase in pleasure not the ending of pain which leads to the human flourishing or eudemonia central to the teaching of Aristotle. Acting virtuously (i.e. putting your good character/values into practice e.g. being charitable) comes from the desire to increase pleasure of the majority. As the Barron points out when Mill called the greatest good "happiness" he meant something closer to the Greek eudemonia. It is the higher pleasures (not the ending of pain) which allow us to flourish. In Utilitarian terms the increase of pleasure being more important than the ending of pain is described as positive utilitarianism. This recommends the promotion or maximising of value/pleasure. Positive utilitarian s would point out simply increasing happiness is an attractive system because it aims to create a happier life for individuals and groups.

26 At this point it seems it is unclear which is more important when choosing whether ending pain and promoting happiness is more important, because it does seem ethically mandatory to end pain, yet it is promoting pleasure which bring the richness of life As such it is necassary to return to the work of Jeremy Bentham. He defined happiness as pleasure minus pain. Nature has placed under two sovereign masters pleasure and pain. Pleasure reduces pain and vice versa-they cannot be separated and therefore it makes sense to conclude that they are of equal importance, and as such ending pain should not always be more important than increasing pleasure.

27 How worthwhile is the pursuit of happiness, and is it all that people desire?

28 AO2 Happiness is the only worthwhile goal in life. Assess this view. 15 marks After considering, evaluating and analysing whether Happiness is the only worthwhile goal in life (by focusing on the Christian approach) this essay will argue that while happiness may be a worthwhile goal there are other worthwhile goals than simply happiness. Psychologists argue that happiness is not a worthwhile goal, some leading thinkers in this filed followed 1,216 children whose personalities were assessed in 1922; they found that those who were most happy died earlier in adult life than those who were less cheerful. The markedly happy kids grew up more likely to drink, smoke and take risks, possibly because their happy world-view made the dangers appear smaller. The psychiatrists concluded Although optimism and positive emotions have been shown to have positive effects when people are faced with a short-term crisis, the long-term effects of cheerfulness are more complex and seem not entirely positive. This approach attempts to establish that while happiness can be beneficial, it is not worthwhile as a long term goal dues to its negative impact on the individual. John Stuart Mill and Aristotle would criticise this assumption because the aim of happiness is not simply for the individual as pyscologists suggest but also the community. They thought happiness is worth pursuing because it is the ultimate end/goal and purpose of human existence. This defines happiness as the exercise of virtue. Happiness is reached by becoming moral and so practising courage, generosity and other virtue are things that make you happy. Although ultimate happiness is not fully reached until the end of one s life, it is worth pursuing because through a virtuous life a person can attain happiness whilst enabling themselves and society to flourish. It is clear from Mill and Aristotle that happiness is a worthwhile goal because can benefit both society and an individual. John Locke supports this view as he saw the pursuit for happiness as worthwhile because it is a natural law that is implanted into us by God and motivates everything we do. Happiness is synonymous with pleasure, Unhappiness with pain. Humans pursuit of happiness will be successful if they distinguish false pleasures which promise immediate satisfaction but produce long-term pain from true pleasures which are intense and long lasting. As Mill would point for a competent judge the higher pleasures do indeed make the pursuit of happiness a worthwhile one.

29 In conclusion it is clear that happiness is a worthwhile pursuit because it can benefit both an individual and society through virtuous behaviour in pursuit of the higher pleasures. However it is clear that it is not the only worthwhile pursuit. As Kant would suggest morality is not about becoming happy but rather about becoming worthy of happiness. Duty, Love, God,and health are all examples of other worthwhile pursuits that we have in life. The message of the Gospel is one of sacrifice, putting the happiness of others before your own, salvific pain etc. Mother Teresa gave up a life of pleasure and wealth for one of pain and suffering and yet died happy, was revered and sainted. Some pain is good for us and some pleasure may be bad. While happiness is certainly a worthwhile pursuit it is by pursuing the happiness of others through love, God and duty that true contentment is attained.

30 How compatible is Utilitarianism with a religious approach to ethics?

31 AO2 Bentham s Utilitarianism is not compatible with a religious approach to ethics. Assess this view (15 marks) After considering, evaluating and analysing whether Bentham s Utilitarianism is compatible with a religious approach to Ethics, (by focusing on the Christian approach) this essay will argue that Christianity is indeed not compatible with Bentham s utilitarianism. The Christian thinker Joseph Fletcher recognised the similarities between his Christian Situation Ethics and Utilitarianism. In fact it is often dubbed "Christian utilitarianism" In practice it seems that the same conduct may be advocated by utilitarianism and situation ethics. This becomes clear in the chapter in Situation Ethics entitled "Love and Justice are the same". Love and justice, Fletcher claims, are the same, for justice is love distributed. Justice involves working out the most loving thing to do taking the interests of all those in the community into account. This argument can be rejected from the point of view that Pope Pius rejected the teachings of Situation Ethics as unacceptable because they were utilitarian, and he did not see Situation Ethics as Christian. Therefore the fact that Utilitarianism including Bentham and Situation Ethics are compatible is irrelevant to this argument as neither is compatible with Christianity. A second argument in favour of the Utilitarianism of Bentham and the Ethics of Christianity being compatible is that there are links between the theory s quantitative approach and the actions of Jesus..Utilitarianism can also advocate a scenario where an innocent man is sentenced to death to prevent riots and preserve the peace. This is compatible with the actions of Jesus who recognised that in an extreme Situation this type of sacrifice maybe to necessary for the salvation of the majority. However appears to be a weak argument as there is a clear difference between the sacrificial act of Jesus giving up his own and life, and the deliberate termination of a life that is not your own. Further to this, this argument is in contradiction with the Christian (Catholic) teaching that all life is sacred. As such this argument fails in demonstrating that Bentham s Utilitarianism is compatible with Christianity. Furthermore to conclude it is clear Jeremy Bentham himself clearly did not see the two approaches as compatible because he rejected rule-based ideas of all actions being intrinsically right or wrong. He was dismissive therefore of the

32 Bible and conscience in knowing right or wrong. As an empiricist (based his conclusions on observation and experience) he tried to develop the Hedonic calculus as a scientific basis to measure the rightness and wrongness of an action. As such his approach could never be described as Christian and the theories can not be compatible.

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