Ethics essay 2

Ethics essay 2 - Emma King ECON3022 With reference to the...

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Emma King ECON3022 With reference to the economics of happiness it is often argued that increasing society’s happiness ought not to be a major goal of government’s policies. Discuss (exam 2009) The answer to this question depends on what one’s definition of happiness is. I will explain different definitions of happiness and then I will follow the discussion using different economic definitions of happiness. Utilitarianism is the moral doctrine that we should always act to produce the greatest possible balance of good over bad for everyone affected by our actions. Utilitarians understand ‘good’ to be happiness or pleasure. Ethics is saturated with utilitarianism which is a simple principle of maximising utility which could be identified as a mental state of happiness. Jeremy Bentham said that all pleasures were considered equal. He thought playing darts was as pleasing as writing poetry. ‘Bentham maintained that there is nothing intrinsically better about refined and intellectual pleasures than about crude or prosaic ones.’ 1 John Stuart Mill, on the other hand, thought Bentham’s idea of pleasure was too simple. He believed that the more intellectual pleasures have a higher value than those carnal pleasures. Although their ideas are different they still believed pleasure was the ultimate value. In this sense they are hedonists, pleasure is the only thing that is intrinsically good. The problem with Bentham and Mill’s definitions is how you measure happiness.
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This note was uploaded on 05/25/2011 for the course ECON 1001 taught by Professor Donaldberry during the Spring '09 term at UCL.

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Ethics essay 2 - Emma King ECON3022 With reference to the...

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