Utilitarianism and its Crucial Ideas

Among the ethic branches, Utilitarianism is a branch that belongs to Consequentialism. Utilitarianism consists of the major good, to the most amounts of people. This doctrine has three main philosophers, Jeremy Bentham, whom is considered the father of it.

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James Mill is another notable philosopher and his son, John Stuart Mill, being the latter the most prominent figure. Utilitarianism is also a Teleological ethic, which judges actions according to the end, the consequences, or the results. In other words, it has been affirmed in an ethical system that pretends to be an alternative that allows the compatibility of individual rights and the search for collective happiness.

Under the principle: “greater happiness for the greater number of people” can be classified to this current as a teleological ethic or more properly consecuacionalista, because they are affirmed in the idea that it is necessary to do what goes to benefit the greatest number of people

The central theme of “utilitarianism” as a moral philosophical current is to look for a principle that allows you to determine when an action is good or bad. To this principle utilitarianism calls the principle of utility. For them the golden rule that we find in the gospel is the ideal of the moral they are trying to propose; “Do as you would have them do with you and love your neighbor as yourself”

That is, there is no higher motivation in the human being that is none other than the pursuit of pleasure. This concept of happiness restricted to the attainment of pleasure is the hallmark of utilitarianism. Mill tries to defend this thesis claiming that this concept has been misinterpreted, since with it has not tried to lower human beings equaling them with pigs, rather, referring to the pursuit of pleasure as the goal of man is referring to a type of happiness exclusive to the human being. “What involves a reference to all human capacities that are proper to the intellect, or those that accompany virtue and all the harmonious feelings of friendship and cooperation among men”

We can affirm, according to the foregoing, that Mill, and with him utilitarianism accepts the theory of pleasures sustained by the Epicureans, “affirms that no epicurean theory of life is known that does not assign to the pleasures of the intellect, of the feelings and of the imagination, a much higher value, in terms of pleasures, than those of mere sensation ”

We believe that a positive assessment of utilitarianism as I try to make existence more bearable, that allows people to sacrifice their pleasures and individual interests for the good of others and society, can help us discover their real contribution to the ethics and politics. What happens is that many times we have conceived the utilitarian current more united to the egoistic and Machiavellian individualism, discovering only its negative elements and forgetting its advantages.

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