The History Of Utilitarianism Philosophy Essay
In the early18th century, Utilitarianism, a moral philosophical theory, was created in the United Kingdom. It opposed to talking justice, right and other concepts abstractly, and advocates moral judgments based on feelings and experience. Concerning pain and pleasure, Utilitarian established principle of utility as the first principle of ethics. According to this principle, if the result of an act is the total amount of happiness larger than the amount of pain, such behavior is good, otherwise, it is evil. Apply this principle to social and political fields. They believe that all the social members to achieve the greatest happiness of society as a whole. Jeremy Bentham was the founder of Utilitarianism, John Mill continued to carry forward this theory, and Henry Sidgwick made this theory more systematic exposition.
Bentham's utilitarianism is based on both pain and happiness of mankind, which are the most basic emotions. People's words and act and thoughts are dominated by them, only they can lead people to do what and how to do. Moreover, John Mill thought the greatest happiness is fundamental for a variety of moral life. Joy or pain relief is only thing required to pursuit. Mill defined money, power, reputation and virtue as parts of pursuit of happiness.
Bentham claimed that the utility refers to giving parties, interest, happiness and goodness, or to protect parties from the pain, evil or misfortune. The parties involve both individuals and the community. The so-called principle of utility, he explained: "When we decide a behavior good or bad, we see that whether the behavior is increased or decreased well-being of the parties." () By contrast, Henry Sidgwick point out that the involved parties include not only all present human, but also future generations of mankind, not only all people, but also all other non-human creature has feeling. This is far beyond scope of Bentham and Mill's utilitarianism. He also quantified happiness and pain, so they can cancel out each other.
The three philosophers had different idea about morality. Bentham claimed that principle of utility is the rule of morality. "For one kind of behavior consisting with principle of utility, one can always say it should do." Motivation in itself is neither good nor evil, but its effect will determine it is ethical or not. Furthermore, the ideal of John Mill is that standard morality is defined as the laws of human behavior and commandments, if they are followed, all human beings can relieve pain and maximize the quality and quantity to enjoy life. The latest philosopher, Henry Sidgwick pointed out the utilitarianism needed the fundament of common sense of morality. Concept of the utility represents goodness and virtue within the common sense of morality.
Utilitarianism has extensive application of economic and political philosophy. Rational economic system should be to maximize the social welfare system. Maximum welfare is judged from two aspects, first is the size of national income, the second is the equal distribution of national income levels. It is hard to predict the outcome of a matter and the influence on parties because it considers the “strength, persistence, certainty or uncertainty, the distance of time, inheritance, purity and extent” according to Bentham’s theory. For example, the construction of high-speed railway in China, many people feel it can be more convenient for people to travel and improve people's standard of living. The present situation, there is no utilitarian sought to achieve the greatest happiness of the whole community. To recover the cost of building high-speed railway, government charged for high fares and limited the high positioning of the ordinary train ticket sales. While, for many Chinese workers, taking the high-speed rail means have to pay 300 yuan despite saving six hours. And what work they can earn 50 yuan in one hour? Usually, new high-speed train carriage few people, the old train was filled with ordinary workers. The serious waste of resources was not agreed by Utilitarian. Despite the lack of predictability, but the experience from testing by principles of utility can facilitate making decision in next similar situation. Therefore, it’s helpful for government to make policy or modify its decision-making.
In addition, utilitarianism can be used to explain the meaning of life. University is a transition period from school days to career, but many people will be confused without knowing what the goal is. The utilitarian happiness is the only rectifiable said, this is far from simple. We can treat happiness as the ultimate goal, and there are many ways to achieve it, including the ability to be an official for the benefit of another people, the satisfaction of graduates find a job or own business to make money, to participate in the draft and to make friends now popular categories program and gain notoriety, the army to fight and defending the country, and even his family live plain and simple life. Each person's understanding and pursuit of happiness is different, depending on their attitude to life. Since ancient times, Chinese people are learning in order to benefits the country and people, and what benefits the country and must tend to increase the welfare of society as a whole. Of course, this process includes personal sacrifices of their own happiness. Main utility does not recognize the sacrifice itself is also a charity. Not increase or tend to increase the amount of the expense of happiness, utilitarianism seems a waste. Examples of this can be described as innumerable. Image a serious disabled person who kneels in the street begging for a living. What could such a person's contribution to the society? He can win public sympathy and love, while his kindness by others, the heart must be happy. In short, everyone has the ability to create social well-being.
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