Utilitarianism | Study Guide

John Stuart Mill

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Utilitarianism | Key Figures

Key Figure Description
Jeremy Bentham One of the leading lights of English utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) was a powerful proponent of utilitarian principles. A philosopher and political radical of his day who advocated legal reforms, Bentham was also a close friend of James Mill, John Stuart Mill's father. Read More
Epicurus The Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (431–270 BCE) was the founder of epicureanism, also known as hedonism. Read More
Immanuel Kant 18th century Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued for a purely rational morality. He objects to the view that the goal of morality is happiness. Read More
Plato The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato (427–347 BCE) argues that the soul is constituted by three elements: the appetitive, the emotive, and the rational. As long as reason governs the other two so that the parts are in harmony with each other, life will be good for the individual.
Stoics The Stoics were a group of philosophers originating in ancient Greece who believed in determinism, or the idea that everything that happens is what must be; things cannot be otherwise than they are. The goal of human life and happiness, then, is to align oneself with what is; one does have control over how one reacts to the way things are, and this control should be exerted in such a way as to harmonize with nature.
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