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This paper defines and explores utilitarian theory, asking how this theory can contribute to political theory and whether its contribution is worthwhile. The paper examines the main aspects of the utilitarian doctrine, defining it as a form of consequentialism, or the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. The paper explains that acts are therefore judged as right or wrong based upon their consequences or utility; utility means the good to be maximized by the action, which in the utilitarian view is pleasure or happiness. The paper asserts that despite aspects of contention and vagueness, utilitarianism appears to contribute to political theory through the debates regarding the promotion of women's suffrage, the role that a legislator should take, and the moral worth of life. The paper concludes that utilitarianism offers a different approach to the worth of life; it is not the need to merely survive or the desire for glory, but the wish to utilize life to the fullest so that the greatest number of people may have the greatest happiness.
From the Paper:"A second objection to the Utilitarian theory is that it is difficult to quantify happiness. How do you judge what happiness is and if someone is truly happy? Bentham states that happiness is pleasure and the absence of pain however, what one person classes as happiness may be what another person classes as pain. It is difficult to compare happiness between different people. The bases on which Utilitarianism is situated could therefore be regarded as dismissible, thus destroying the Utilitarian theory."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Bentham, J (1948) 'A Fragment on Government and An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals and Legislation' Basil Blackwell Oxford
- Brink, D (1986) 'Utilitarian Morality and The Personal Point of View' The Journal of Philosophy Vol. 83 No.8
- Crisp, R (1997) 'Mill on Utilitarianism' Routledge
- Lyons, D (1972) 'Rawls versus Utilitarianism' The Journal of Philosophy Vol. 69 No. 18 pg. 535 - 545
- Monk, I (1992) 'A History of Modern Political Thought: Major Political Thinkers from Hobbes to Marx' Blackwell Publishers LTD
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Utilitarian Tradition Contributions to Political Theory (2011, January 10) Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/utilitarian-tradition-contributions-to-political-theory-146652/
"Utilitarian Tradition Contributions to Political Theory" 10 January 2011. Web. 20 February. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/utilitarian-tradition-contributions-to-political-theory-146652/>