Under the influence of Newton’s physics
and the modern experimental science,
UTILITARIANISM emerged from a
desire to construct a moral theory
through the scientific method.
Moral theory was to be based on an
The method was to avoid purely
speculative or metaphysical concepts.
The right and wrong, good and bad were
to be convertible into concrete verifiable
terms which results for the betterment
and happiness of the human community.
Pleasure or happiness is not defined by
a flight of metaphysical discourse
“Utility” means “that property in any
object whereby it tends to produce
pleasure, good or happiness to the party
whose interest is considered”
Fundamental Priniciple “the greatest
happiness of the greatest number”
○ A morally good act is that which lies at the
point of intersection of maximum pleasure and
Seven Elements to be considered
in the Felicific Calculus
Proximity of the pleasure to be derived from
Fecundity (or the capacity to engender
Purity (or the relative absence of any
admixture of painful countereffects)
Extent (or the number of people affected,
should also go into the balance)
Man’s end and goal is to seek pleasure
or happiness properly
Example: Man must accept that others
also seek happiness.
Rule: “Everybody is to count for
one, nobody for more that one”
Man violates the rule and he eventually incurs pain
So to help solve this problem, there are
several sanctions the individual from
Political (arrest, imprisonment)
Social (public opinion)
Religious (punishment in an afterlife)
Physical (direct consequences of the action in one’s
Ethics for Bentham consists of method
which shows how to attain pleasure and
happiness properly and effectively.
John Stuart Mill (1806- 1873)
Mill’s father was a fervent disciple of
Bentham and accordingly he
indoctrinated his son the principles of
Mill found Bentham’s view of human
nature too narrow.
It is not to be sought for itself but
which man attains by seeking some
other goal or ideal as an end in itself
In other words, there are higher and
lower pleasures and different kinds of
pleasures and satisfactions.
“It is better to be a human being
dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to
be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool
For Mill, the ultimate end of all human
desires remains happiness.
Happiness for Him is not merely
pleasure but ultimately the harmonious
development of the human person
Man has a social nature which give
him with a desire for unity with his
He cannot really be happy if others are
Henry Sidgwick (1833-1900)
He classifies all moral theories into three
Egoism” or “Psychological Hedonism”
“Egoism” or “Psychological
That the good is the greatest happiness
of the agent.
○ Which hold that there are ultimate ends
transcending mere utility such as knowledge,
virtue, beauty, or ultimate rules such as those
of “benevolence” (seek the good of others as
well as one’s own)
are the theories which hold that the good
is the greatest happiness of all those
affected by the act under consideration.
Both Bentham and Mill are classified by
Sidgwick as “Egoists” or “Psychological
He says that such ends and rules
proposed are based on:
Arising from both “Egoism” and
“All men do seek their own happiness.
To achieve his own happiness, the
individual must eventually seek the
happiness of other
Morality demands that the individual
sacrifice his individual happiness for the
sake of that of the community
Two possible solutions:
Sidgwick and Mill are considered to
have paved the way for the shift from
“act utilitarianism” to “rule utilitarianism”
George Edward Moore (1873-
For him, "good is unanalyzable”
Good is, therefore, are such things as
found in the world.
For example: aesthetic enjoyment, personal
affection (examples by which are good in
He is against egoistic utilitarianism.
For good is good.
He is also against the principle of the
greatest happiness of the greatest
Moore remains utilitarianism.
He considers that the act itself is not good or
bad, but is merely a means to the end which
is good or bad.