Strengths Weaknesses
Act Utilitarianism is pragmatic and focuses on the consequences of an action. Utilitarianism seeks to predict the consequences of an action, which is impossible.
For many people ‘happiness’ is an important part of decision making as it is their main aim in life. Some claim Bentham committed the ‘naturalistic fallacy’ of deriving an ought from an is.
This theory treats everyone equally – regardless of emotional or social attachments. Utilitarianism fails to identify that we have certain duties or obligations to others.
Simple to follow, just ‘Greatest happiness for the greatest number’. Happiness is subjective. Whereas someone may find happiness in cake, another may find it in murder.
Bentham provided humans with a way to measure happiness through the hedonic calculus. Using the hedonic calculus to calculate the greatest happiness for the greatest number is impractical.