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P%20of%20Utility

P%20of%20Utility - your situation Second weigh up the...

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PHILOSOPHY: Handout for Utilitarianism According to Utilitarianism, the moral goodness or badness of an action is determined by its consequences — by whether it benefits or harms the people who are affected by it. The Utilitarians understand the idea of a benefit in terms of the production of pleasure of some sort or other, and they understand the idea of harm in terms of the production of some form of pain . The Principle of Utility states that an action is good to the extent that it produces beneficial (pleasurable) consequences, bad to the extent that it produces harmful (painful) consequences. You can use this principle to determine the morally right thing to do in any situation, as follows: First, consider all of the alternative courses of action open to you — all the choices you could make in
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Unformatted text preview: your situation; Second, weigh up the benefits and harms you expect to result from each alternative, considering not just yourself but all those who are likely to be affected by what you do (directly or indirectly); Finally, choose that alternative which maximizes the benefits and minimizes the harms for all concerned. Utilitarians think of happiness in terms of a life where pleasures predominate over pains. Thus, we can say that the Principle of Utility approves of individual actions — or social policies — that promote the general happiness, and disapproves of actions and policies that detract from the general happiness. Accordingly, the Utilitarian’s slogan for the ultimate moral goal of social legislation was “the Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number”....
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