Utilitarianism

Jenny Gonzales Darlene Tala John Michael Bernardo

Utilitarianism
• “(from the Latin utilis, useful) is a theory of ethics based on quantitative maximization of some good for society or humanity. It is a form of consequentialism. This good is often happiness or pleasure, though some utilitarian theories might seek to maximize other consequences. Utilitarianism is sometimes summarized as "The greatest happiness for the greatest number."

History
• Can be traced back to Hedonism • Hedones - greek • Pain is the essence of life • Will to live – overcome pain • Planting food • Pleasure • Jeremy Bentham • John Stuart Mill • Utilitarianism

UTILITARIAN PHILOSOPHERS

David Hume
• The concept of right and wrong is not rational but arises from a regard for one's own happiness. The supreme moral good, according to his view, is benevolence, an unselfish regard for the general welfare of society that Hume regarded as consistent with individual happiness

William Godwin
• One of the first exponents of utilitarianism Concerned with individual moral perfectibility, couched in the language of utility rather than strictly utilitarian

Richard M. Hare
• Hare holds that utilitarianism is the product of conceptual analysis rather than of moral intuition.

Richard M. Hare
• Hare claims that we ought to as act utilitarians. • The approach to ethical decisions that will serve us best in practice is not act utilitarianism, but rule utilitarianism

James Mill
• Developed a systematic statement of utilitarian ethical theory. Defended the general principle that right actions are those that tend to produce the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people.

Henry Sidgwick
• His masterpiece, Methods of Ethics, has influenced the culmination of of the classical utilitarian tradition - “the greatest happiness of the greatest number” as the fundamental normative demand”

Benthamite Concept
• Postulated by Jeremy Bentham Based on the concept of the greatest happiness of the greatest number in the community.

Benthamite Concept
• Bentham’s theory is that while an individual is part of a politically organized society, nevertheless, there remains a element of his individuality that is not merged into society of which he is a constituent part. • This is the stage that started individualist utilitarianism

Nature Basis
• Bentham advocated a formula to determine whether an act is good or bad. • He utilized the ancient point of teleogical jurisprudence • “what pleasures ought not to be sought and what pains ought to be avoided”

Two Ideas of Bentham
1. Nature has placed human beings under a regime of pleasures and pains. These are sensations that are quite natural to human beings because they feel them the most. Every act or conduct is done to procure the happening of some good (pleasure) or to prevent the occurrence of some evil (pain)

2.

2 ways of Measuring Utility
1. Composed of several factors: • extensity – refers to the number of person affected • Intensity –refers to the degree of the pleasantness at a given time or over a period of time • Duration –refers to the period of time the pleasure or pain lasts

• Propinquity – refers to the influence of the more immediate rather than the remote pleasures or pains • Fecundity – refers to the tendency to produce or lead to either pleasures or pains • Purity – refers to the tendency not to produce either pleasure or pains

Ways of Measuring Utility
2. Composed of several factors which have a great deal to do with personal or individual differences as to sensibility to pleasures or pains. Examples ( temperament, health, strength, religion, physical defect, relationship)

Application in the Legal Order
• The good refers to that which causes happiness, not necessarily happiness itself, while bad refers to that which causes misery, not necessarily the misery itself. Hence, acts whether public or private and their consequences are to be measured by the calculus of pleasures and pains, that which tends, to the greatest happiness of the greatest number of individuals.

Application in the Legal Order
• The ultimate test of goodness or badness of an act or conduct is the quantum of happiness or justice (pleasure) or misery or injustice (pain) that it yields

Jherinian Concept
• Launched by Rudolf von Jhering Emphasized the general interest, all things being considered in their broad social context rather than upon individual interests

Jherinian Concept
• “the law should address the realization of the partnership of the individual and society” • While individual persons have their interests to consider they cannot be more important than the society of which they are parts. • “there should be concurrence of selfish individual interests with the general purposes

Jhering’s Social Utilitarianism
1. Purpose is the prime mover of both individual and social wills • Means that purpose is decisive when choices and decisions are to be made  All physical determinations are described in the traditional concept of cause and effect.  Ex. A stone falls to the ground because of the pull of gravity

Law of purpose
 Posits the idea that the world of human conduct is determined by a “for” a  Ex. A debtor resolves or decides to pay his creditor for the purpose of liquidating his account  “proximate cause” must be understood in the light of the law of purpose which means a law should be classified as good or bad in the light of its purpose

Jhering’s Social Concept
2. Selfish tendency of furthering individual purposes does not work for the good of the greatest number but only when all purposes are focused upon the same social objectives that the happiness of the individual and that of the community are realized.

VALUE Of the UTILITY SUPPLEMENT

1. Not confined to mere abstract suppositions.

2. Applicable to and of good use in the science and art of legislation.

SCIENCE OF LEGISLATION
- The knowledge of the good for the community.

ART OF LEGISLATION
- The finding of ways and means to realize or accomplish that good.

• The happiness of the greatest number in the community.

ULTIMATE END OF LEGISLATION

Individual interests END or OBJECT of the SCIENCE and ART of Collective LEGISLATION purposes

3. Employed with fruitful application in the field of human rights.

EQUALITY as main
Right of Life

aspect of LAW

Personality Dignity

Collective PURPOSES in the conservation of HUMAN RESOURCES

4. Jhering’s SOCIAL UTILITARIANISM
• Sought a BALANCE between INDIVIDUAL PURPOSES and the PURPOSES OF SOCIETY

JHERING’S CLASSIFICATION

Individual Political Social

ROSCOE OF PURPOSES POUND

Theory of Social Engineering of the Conflicting or Overlapping Interests

CRITICISMS

1. DISTASTEFULNESS
• No room for special moral obligations to one’s family and close friends. • Problem of personal loyalties.

Greatest happiness of the greatest number of  Regards all happiness as equally good, people

regardless

of who gets it.

 Does not provide enough support for individuals’ rights (what is a right and what is its justification?) If the justification of right depends on its tendency to
promote happiness and prevent suffering, then it is redundant since this is the sole purpose of utility.

The proponent of ethical rights has very unclear thinking as to what rights are and why they exist – and it is therefore of unclear importance that utilitarianism does not support them. Problem of Distributive Justice or Unjust Consequences

In utilitarianismSociety A considers only the C one sum total of pains and Society B Society pleasures, not  Motives their distribution. Even though the sum total of units of happiness 10 15 15 might be the same, it might be distributed "unfairly" in various tarianism has been criticized15for only looking at the results of actions, no societies. 10 15 e total amount and the average units of value are the same in people also con desires or intentions which motivate them, which many Societies A + B bu tributed unevenly. The total ortant. An action intended amount of harm in Society inadvertently causes g to15cause value but that C is greater than that in 10 ciety A where the distribution is even. Even15rule utilitarianism must approve this lts would be judged equal to the result from an action done with good tribution --even slavery, if this is what is involved. ntions. 10 5 5
10 5 5

10

5

6

Total 60 net units of pleasure

Total 60 net units of pleasure

Total 61 net units of pleasure

2. IMPOSSIBILITY
• it is impossible to apply - that happiness cannot be quantified or measured, that there is no way of calculating a trade-off between intensity and extent, or intensity and probability, or comparing happiness to suffering.

5a. Happiness is unobtainable. One cannot exist constantly in rapture. ny 1. Variabilityutilitarian proponents hoped that happiness could someh of the early of Human Experience - Differences between people. Besides poverty, disease, death and other evils prevent total happiness. 2. Number of compared between people measured quantitatively and Variables in Any Situation through felicifi 5b. ability to discern what they are, 3. Consequences -People can do without happiness.what counts culus, although no one has ever managed to construct a detailed one in 6. Why should other people'slimit to causality. standard of morality? and the happiness be the ctice. It has been argued that the happiness of different people is 7. What about other values Calculate 4. No Time to such as freedom, love? ommensurable, and thus felicific calculus is impossible, not only in Are they not at least as important as happiness? ctice, but even in principle.

IMPRACTICALITY
• The demands of political reality and the complexities of political thought are obstinately what they are, and in the face of them the simple-mindedness of utilitarianism disqualifies it totally. The important issues that utilitarianism raises should be discussed in contexts more rewarding than that of utilitarianism itself. Utilitarianism gives no special moral weight to things like promises and contracts.

INSUFFICIENCY (of scope)
• it fails to consider some sources of value, and that it will therefore produce the wrong results when these different sources conflict. There is potential for confusion here - sometimes "utilitarianism" is used specifically for "hedonistic utilitarianism"; and, sometimes, it means a particular class of ethical theory (something like "valuemaximizing consequentialism").

So, theories which have other intrinsic values than happiness and exemption from suffering can be accommodated within a utilitarian scheme.