Cross & Miller, 2009, p. 89) indicate that “the greatest good for the greatest number” is a paraphrase of the major premise of the utilitarian approach to ethics.
This is a philosophical theory that was developed by Jeremy Bentham in (1748-1832) and later modified by John Stuart Mills in (1806-1873) This is in contrast to duty based ethics, utilitarianism is outcome oriented. It focuses on the consequences of an action not on the nature of the action itself or on any setoff pre-established moral values or religious beliefs.
Under a utilitarian model of ethics an action is morally correct or “right” when, among the people it affects, it produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number. When an action affects the majority adversely, it is morally wrong. Applying the utilitarian theory thus requires:
1. A determination of which individuals will be affected by the action in question.
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