Hedonistic Calculus | Hedonism | In Vitro Fertilisation

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Presented by : Krunal Soni (PG - 10 - 114)

will actually or probably produce the greatest amount of pleasure in the world-at-large. Pleasure and pain form the basis of the standard of right and wrong. Utilitarianism is the moral theory that an action is morally right if and only if it is productive of the most utility (happiness. Bentham believed the right act is the act which of all those open to the agent. pleasure) for the greatest number of persons. 2 .

delight. Hedonistic Calculus is a method of working out the sum total of pleasure and pain produced by an act. discomfort. and thus the total value of its consequences. anguish. grief.  Pleasure will here be understood broadly.   A hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain). chagrin. depression.  Pain will be taken to include all unpleasant feeling or experience: aches. irritations. ecstacy. joy. such as elation. 3 .  Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. The name derives from the Greek word for “delight” (hēdonē) which means pleasure. throbs. anxiety. and enjoyment. guilt and remorse. despair. to include all pleasant feeling or experience.

 Bentham believed the moral rightness or wrongness of an action to be a function of the amount of pleasure or pain that it produced. the Hedonistic Calculus and the Hedonic Calculus. 4 .  The algorithm is also known as the Utility Calculus. Hedonic Calculus is an algorithm formulated by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham in his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) for calculating the degree or amount of pleasure that a specific action is likely to cause.  According to this calculus. it determines the moral status of any considered act. the Felicific Calculus.

we should consider the “elements” or “dimensions” : Intensity (I) Duration (D) Certainty (C) How intense is the pleasure or pain? How long does the pleasure or pain last? What is the probability that the pleasure or pain will occur? Propinquity (N) Fecundity (F) Purity (P) Extent (E) How far off in the future is the pleasure or pain? What is the probability that the pleasure will lead to other pleasures? What is the probability that the pain will lead to other pains? How many persons are affected by the pleasure? 5 . When determining what action is right in a given situation.

The next two variables (fecundity and purity) are properties of the event or action produced by the pleasure or pain. Bentham envisaged the calculus could be used for criminal law reform: given a crime of a certain kind it would be possible to work out the minimum penalty necessary for its prevention. and therefore is right.  The units of measurements used in the felicific calculus may be termed as thev “hedons” and “dolors”. certainty. duration. The first four variables (intensity. this method will determine which act has the best tendency. and propinquity) show the value of the pleasure or the pain “considered by itself.not properties of the pleasure or pain." 6   . We should next consider the alternative courses of action: ideally. itself.” This phrase implies Bentham did not see pleasure and pain as polar concepts or contraries. They may be regarded as similar to the utilitarian posends and negends.

  .To analyse the proposition of putting forward £25 million for supplying canes and reintroducing discipline instead of helping the elderly.

If the money went to the elderly then the happiness would last for a decent amount of time. 8  . ultimately depending on the length of their life left to live. The intenseness of the happiness of the elderly would likely be less than that of the students as they would probably take the improved health care for granted. Intensity The improved discipline would lead to a 15% increase in grades which would result in a pretty intense happiness. For example if you got better lunches you would just take the improved meals for granted and the intensity of happiness is unlikely to be that high. Duration The duration of the happiness of the school children could last for the rest of their non-schooling life as the good grades could lead to a greater career and therefore a longer amount of happiness. making the feeling of achieving better grades more intense than if you just got better grades making for a more intense happiness. Also the improved discipline would make you work harder.

Propinquity The happiness generated from the higher discipline in schools will result in higher grades and maybe happiness later on in life. These good grades could get them a good job which would lead to happiness in later life and not at their time at school which they probably wouldn’t enjoy as much. If the money went to the elderly the happiness would take an immediate effect as if you were treated better now you would most likely feel better now then at a later date. For example if you wanted to become a professional footballer. Certainty We are not certain that better grades would lead to happiness as not everyone will be happy about achieving better grades. 9  . The happiness of improved care for the elderly is more certain as improved care is very likely going to be beneficial for them. better grades are not needed and would probably not generate much happiness if any at all.

It could lead to a psychological effect on the students which might cause more cautious people and less risk takers as risks could lead to punishment. 10  . which know that they are better cared for. Purity There could be side effects to the improved discipline in schools. Fecundity The improved exam results would mean that there would be more highly educated people leading to an increase in better skilled and unskilled workers. The happiness of the elderly would probably just lead to the happiness of their friends of family. This would result in a better economy for the country which could mean that this change in schooling could affect the happiness of the whole nation. There should not be any side effects to the improved care of the elderly except for maybe causing a higher population due to longer life-spans leading to a higher percentage of dependent people possibly resulting in food shortages damaging the economy.

It is unlikely that they will immediately think that the introduction of the cane is in fact a good idea as in the future it will cause better exam grades and then possibly better universities and jobs. Most children will initially think that introducing the cane is bad due to the fact that it hurts. If the money was given to help the elderly instead then there would be a lot more immediate happiness due to the improved health care 11 . Extent As a result of reintroducing canes there is not likely going to be many happy students due to the introduction of the cane.

I.V.F   .

This opportunity will provide the mother intense pleasure and satisfaction. They will be able to have a child who is biologically related. the success rate is lower than 35%. a mother who is not fortunate enough to conceive naturally is offered the opportunity to have her baby to grow inside her own body and to become a part of her.   13 .. this will lead to intense pleasure for the couple who were unable to conceive naturally. Intensity: If the IVF procedure is successful. Certainty: You cannot be certain that pleasure will result from IVF because the success rate of IVF is very low. there is the possibility that instead of bringing pleasure. abnormal brain etc.. Therefore. the babies born through IVF are twice as likely to be born with some form of disease and sickness such as cleft lips. In addition. Duration: The pleasure of having a biologically related child could last lifelong for the couple. the baby could bring pain to the couple. Through IVF. For women under the age of 35. Surrogacy will also lead to intense pleasure for the doctor when he/ she receive the money.

Extent: The couple’s pleasure when a biologically related child is born will spread to the couple’s relatives and friends. you cannot be sure that the baby will produce happiness and pleasure in the future. For example. Seeing the baby’s transformation into a child and then into an adult produces even more pleasure. 14 . the baby could grow up to be a rapist or a serial killer and cause immense amounts of pain not only for the parents but also for the society. Fecundity: The baby’s birth produces pleasure for the couple. The doctor’s pleasure when receiving the money for carrying out the IVF procedure will spread to the doctor’s relatives and friends.    Propinquity : The pleasure is quite distant because the duration of pregnancy is 37 to 42 weeks. a negative pregnancy test after IVF could lead to stress for couples who would have viewed IVF as their last hope of having a baby. painful ovaries. In addition. For example. However. Purity: The pleasure of having a biologically related baby through IVF is mixed with many pains. hyper stimulation syndrome could result as a result of the IVF procedure and this will lead to swollen.

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