Utilitarianism


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  • Identified most with 19th century philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill
  • Requires a decision maker to maximize utility for society as a whole
  • Max Utility = achieving the highest level of satisfactions over dissatisfactions
  • It judges our actions based on outcomes (teleological)
  • Strength: Easy to articulate the standard of conduct – Merely do what is best for society as a whole.
  • Criticisms:
    • Difficulty in measuring benefit & harm to all members of society.
    • Unequal distribution of costs & benefits may lead to detrimental results for a particular class or group of people.
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