In: Other Topics

Submitted By darkhorse1212
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Key Figures and their Contributions

Jeremy Bentham -

Invented the first type of utilitarianism: Act Utilitarianism

Came up with the use of the hedonic calculus

Famous saying "nature has put us under two sovereign masters: pleasure and pain."

John Stuart Mill -

Developed Bentham's work

Invented Rule Utilitarianism

Brought in the idea that there are 'higher' and 'lower' pleasures

Famous quote: "it is better to be an unsatisfied Socrates than a satisfied pig.

Believed in individual liberty so long as it didn't cause harm to anyone else.

Stated that 'children and savages' should not be considered in Utilitarian calculations.

Peter Singer -

Contemporary utilitarian

Believed that all sentient beings should have rights, and higher beings like apes and gorillas deserve equal rights to humans.

Justified mutually pleasurable bestiality on the grounds of utilitarianism.

Hedonic Calculus

The hedonic calculus has 7 criteria that it uses in order to decide on the best decision. The higher the number, the better a decision it is.
Duration - how long does the pleasure from the action last for?

Intensity - how strong is the pleasure that results from the action?

Certainty - is the likelihood of the pleasure high or low?

Extent - how many people will be affected with the pleasure?

Fecundity - will the pleasure lead to more pleasure?

Purity - will the pain (if there is any) lead to more pain?

Propinquity - how long will it be until the pleasure would be attained?

Numbers are usually given out of a maximum of 10, and so a decision that leads to a total of 70 arbitrary calculus points would be the perfect decision.

Tip: use an anagram like 'DICE-FPP' to remember the 7 criteria.

Different Types of Utilitarianism

Act Utilitarianism


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