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What are the main features of Utilitarianism as an ethical theory 10 marks Examine and consider criticisms that have been made against Utilitarianism 10 marks Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that pivots around the belief that morality should be judged by consequence and the way in which an action can be deemed moral or immoral depends upon the number to which it brings the greatest happiness A decision can be defined as ethically correct under the theory of Utilitarianism if the moral choice provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people proving that at the core of Utilitarianism are the ideals of pleasure and consequence Although Utilitarianism provides a useful simplistic way for making moral decisions it has notable faults which limit its capability as an ethical strategy Ethical theories can be classified into two groups these being deontological theories and teleological theories Utilitarianism is a teleological theory so for a Utilitarian actions are judged on the results that they accomplish Morality is therefore centred on consequence rather than motives Contrary to a deontological theory which believes the action itself to be the most important rather than the outcome Utilitarianism recognises that a course of action is considered good depending upon the outcome of a situation The 19th century thinker Jeremy Bentham devised the utilitarian theory encompassing the belief that human beings were motivated by the pathos of pleasure and pain He believed that all humans sought out pleasure whilst seek to avoid pain and that the moral result of an action could be deliberated in terms of pleasure and happiness This belief that the main motivation for humans is pleasure is widely known as Hedonism from the Greek word for pleasure Hdon Although Jeremy Bentham understood that pleasure was a motivator he believed that pleasure should be sought for the most number of people in each action that takes place rather than pursuing pleasure simply for selfish purposes Bentham
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