The Greatest Happiness Principle Question

The Greatest Happiness Principle Question

  • The Greatest Happiness Principle is a core concept of classical utilitarian ethics (Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, 1725; Jeremy Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, 2nd edn, 1828. Basically it says that the rightness or wrongness of an action should be determined by how many people are positively affected (made more happy than not) by that action. Some of the problems in applying this principle in real life situations are related to the fact that resources of any kind are almost always limited :It leaves open to interpretation how much of something should be distributed to one individual or group and not another and for what reason. (Imagine a limited supply of a pain killer in a hospital.
  1. QUESTION: Give an example of a real life situation that you know of (or you can create a hypothetical one) in which the greatest happiness principle was used as a guide for action.
  2. What were the competing claims made for the just distribution of the resource in question and how were those claims resolved (or not)?The Greatest Happiness Principle Question

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  • The Greatest Happiness Principle is a core concept of classical utilitarian ethics (Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, 1725; Jeremy Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, 2nd edn, 1828. Basically it says that the rightness or wrongness of an action should be determined by how many people are positively affected (made more happy than not) by that action. Some of the problems in applying this principle in real life situations are related to the fact that resources of any kind are almost always limited :It leaves open to interpretation how much of something should be distributed to one individual or group and not another and for what reason. (Imagine a limited supply of a pain killer in a hospital.
  1. QUESTION: Give an example of a real life situation that you know of (or you can create a hypothetical one) in which the greatest happiness principle was used as a guide for action.
  2. What were the competing claims made for the just distribution of the resource in question and how were those claims resolved (or not)?

The Greatest Happiness Principle Question

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