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example, of the motive of benevolence, and the wider the scope the better. It is the motives rather than the consequences that are the objects of approvaland disapproval. But inasmuch as the morally good person cares about what happens to others, and of course she will, she will rank order acts in terms of their effects on others, and reason is used in calculating effects. So there is no incompatibility at all. Hutcheson was committed to maximization, it seems. However, he insisted on a caveat — that “the dignity or moral importance of persons may compensate numbers.” He added a deontological constraint — that we have a duty to others in virtue of their personhood to accord them fundamental dignity regardless of the numbers of others whose happiness is to be affected by the action in question. Hume was heavily influenced by Hutcheson, who was one of his teachers. His system also
incorporates insights made by Shaftesbury, though he certainly lacks Shaftesbury's confidence that virtue is its own reward. In terms of his place in the history of utilitarianism we should note two distinct effects his system had. Firstly, his account of the social utility of the artificial virtues influenced Bentham's thought on utility. Secondly, his account of the role sentiment played in moral judgment and commitment to moral norms influenced Mill's thoughts about the internal sanctions of morality. Mill would diverge from Bentham in developing the ‘altruistic’ approach to Utilitarianism (which is actually a misnomer, but more on that later). Bentham, in contrast to Mill, represented the egoistic branch — his theory of human nature reflected Hobbesian psychological egoism. 2. The Classical Approach The Classical Utilitarians, Bentham and Mill, were concerned with legal and social reform. If anything could be identified as the fundamental motivation behind the development of Classical Utilitarianism it would be the desire to see useless, corrupt laws and social practices changed. Accomplishing this goal required a normative ethical theory employed as a critical tool. What is the truth about what makes an action or a policy a morally good one, or morally right? But developing the theory itself was also influenced by strong views about what was wrong in their society. The conviction that, for example, some laws are bad resulted in analysis of why they were bad. And, for Jeremy Bentham, what made them bad was their lack of utility, their tendencyto lead to unhappiness and misery without any compensating happiness. If a law or an action
doesn't do any good, then it isn't any good. 2.1 Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) was influenced both by Hobbes' account of human nature and Hume's account of social utility. He famously held that humans were ruled by two sovereign masters — pleasure and pain. We seek pleasure and the avoidance of pain, they “...govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think...” (Bentham PML, 1). Yet he also promulgated the principle of utility as the standard of right action on the part of governments and individuals. Actions are approved when they are such