Explain the Main Differences Between the Utilitarianism of Bentham and That of Mill. (25)

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The theory of Utilitarianism takes its name from the Latin word ‘utilis’, meaning ‘useful’. It was first developed by Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher and legal theorist of the 18th century. Bentham sought to produce a modern and rational approach to morality which would suit the changing society of the industrial age. Utilitarianism basically says that happiness is the key to life’s conquest, and happiness that is the determination of right or wrong. So if an action’s consequence causes happiness, then the action is right, if it causes pain, or destroys happiness then the action is wrong.Utilitarianism may be regarded as a relativist, consequentialist and teleological system of ethics, giving no fixed moral rules and judging an action by its consequences or end result. Jeremy Bentham, and his disciple John Stuart Mill have become recognised as the two greatest sponsors of Utilitarianism. Bentham is known for his popularisation of the more traditional version of the theory, known as Act Utilitarianism. Although a student of Bentham, Mill could see problems in what he was being taught and so began to develop his own views in his own version called Rule Utilitarianism.
Bentham’s main philosophy of Act Utilitarianism is to create the “greatest good for the greatest number”. So for example, if you are in a situation where lying would bring about the greatest good then, you should lie. Utilitarians support the view that it is the value of the consequences of the particular act that count, so if breaking the law would lead to the greatest good for the majority then it would be the correct act to follow. Bentham argued that one should maximise happiness for the majority, a view which is known as the ‘Utility Principle’. Happiness was thus equated with moral goodness. This idea further identifies Bentham as a ‘psychological hedonist’, since he regarded humans as being…...

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