JEREMY BENTHAM

  • A philosopher, economist and social reformer.
  • Developed the Theory known as Utilitarianism in 1789.
  • Believed the main aim of life was to achieve ‘happiness’ and avoid ‘pain’.

“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.”

 

THE UTILITY PRINCIPLE

  • States that our main aim should be to achieve ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest number’.

“By the principle of Utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which appears to have the augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose happiness is in question… I say of every action whatsoever…”         – Jeremy Bentham.

  • Referred to as ‘Act’ Utilitarianism as the principle of utility should be applied to every act performed in each unique situation. Any act (including murder) is justifiable is it follows this principle.
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