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Bentham and Utilitarianism

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Principal of Utilitarianism is frequently linked with British philosopher Jeremy Bentham. His principal had a lot of influence on the political realm. Bentham is highly renowned for his two most influential philosophical works “An introduction to principal of moral and legislation (1789) and constitution code. Bentham basic principal of Utilitarianism philosophy are laid in the principal of moral and legislation. He states that nature puts human under the governing of two foreign forces; pain and pleasure. They are the two masters who point to us what to do and at the same time determine what we do. Alongside these two ideas of pain and pleasure, Bentham developed the principal of Utility. Utility states that “every action ought to be judged right or wrong depending on how fair it tends to promote or harm the happiness of the society. Bentham argues that mankind behavior is motivated by the desire to derive pleasure and avoid pain. According to him the greatest happiness is the measure of wrong and right. He also went further to claim that legislator should regulate the manner in which people pursue their happiness by using punishment and rewards as their means of control.

Utilitarianism teaches that through infliction of pain and threat of pain, humans are provided with a reason and a motive to abstain from behaviors that are harmful to the society.  Bentham claimed that laws should be made of a prohibition or a command supported by threat of punishment. In Bentham constitution code he developed what could be referred to as a utilitarian democracy. In this type of democracy, the happiness targeted by legislators ought to coincide with people’s interest and happiness. He claimed that to achieve this; legislators should be made up of a just electoral system whose basis on punishment by means of dismissal from office. He advocated for the policy of secret ballot voting, equal electoral districts, annual election and manhood suffrage.

However, Bentham Utilitarianism considered other responsibility of government rather than enforcement of punishment such as preventing unemployment and crime. He described the architectural design of a panopticon pententially for prisoners which should be run according to the rules of leniency (no harm to prisoners), severity (prisoners lever of comfort should not exceed the lower class in the society) and the economy (limit of the staff required to run the facility). Regarding the poor, Bentham proposed creation of a National Charity Company whose role will be to relief of the poor in the society. Utilitarianism is highly credited on the basis that laid foundation for the formation of welfare section in Britain. John Start Mill was one of the renowned prominent defenders of Bentham’s Utilitarianism.  He gave immense value to Utilitarianism as a moral based theory. He particularly, defines Utilitarianism action are right on the condition that they tend to promote happiness and wrong if they promote the reverse. Mill defines happiness as presence of pleasure and absence of pain. Mill purported that Utilitarianism coincides with natural implication and sentiments with origin based and mankind social nature.

Thus if society embrace utilitarianism as ethic, they will consider those standard as morally binding. He argues that happiness was the sole reason for morality and people’s sole desire was to obtain happiness and nothing else. Mill responds to criticism against Utilitarianism in his on liberty essay. In the fifth chapter of his writing, he explains the connection between justice and Utilitarianism. Finally, Mill claims that happiness is the foundation of justice.

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