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A Great book for learning about Utilitarianism, I think this covers the basics. The books starts with Bentham, he starts with Pleasure and Pain. The principle of utility would approve or disapprove The Classical Utilitarians : Bentham and Mill.
This volume includes the complete texts of two of John Stuart Mill's most important works, Utilitarianism and On Liberty , and selections from his other writings, including the complete text of his "Remarks on Bentham's Philosophy.
Also included are selections from the writings of Jeremy Bentham, founder of modern Utilitarianism and mentor together with James Mill of John Stuart Mill. Bentham's Principles of Morals and Legislation had important effects on political and legal reform in his own time and continues to provide insights for political theorists and philosophers of law. Seven chapters of Bentham's Principles are here in their entirety, together with a number of shorter selections, including one in which Bentham repudiates the slogan often used to characterize his philosophy: "The Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number.
The volume also provides indexes, a glossary, and notes. Mills On Liberty. Mills Remarks on Benthams Philosophy. Mill Excerpt from a letter to Henry Jones.
Bentham on The Greatest Good.
Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy. Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory. Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good. There are many ways to spell out this general claim. One thing to note is that the theory is a form of consequentialism: the right action is understood entirely in terms of consequences produced.
The Classical Utilitarians: Bentham and Mill
Jeremy Bentham — was an exceptionally able and influential philosopher, but he was also, in some ways, a rather strange man. He died in , but he can still be seen, ensconced within a glass case, at University College, London. Bentham donated his cadaver for instructive dissection by T. Southwood Smith, a leading advocate for the legalization of such donations, but directed that his skeleton should be preserved. Despite this, the greatest happiness system, as expounded in the writings of Bentham and Mill, is still widely influential, while the systems of Lenin and Mao are moribund. The continuing vitality of the greatest happiness system is not difficult to understand—it embodies a very natural and compelling model of rationality. Indeed it is tempting, and not implausible, to interpret philosophers as different as Adam Smith and Chairman Mao as agreeing that the goal of social institutions is the maximization of net happiness and disagreeing only on the most efficient means of realizing that end.