Act and Rule Utilitarianism

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Transcript Act and Rule Utilitarianism

Act and Rule Utilitarianism

Rule

        Believed to be a more sophisticated form than Act Associated with JS. Mill Based on a posteriori knowledge and past experience For example, past experience has taught governments never to negotiate with terrorists because of the consequences that doing so will produce Experience has taught that negotiation with terrorists means that more terrorist events will occur and more people will be held to ransom Rules are put into place and followed whenever the need arises Rule could be ‘do not kill’ ‘never take what does not belong to you’ ‘always help others less fortunate when you can’ Rules are followed because of their usefulness in bringing about the maximum amount of happiness over a long period of time

Rule Cont

   On occasion, following the rule will NOT bring about the max happiness, but it must still be followed because overall it will and does Rules can be changed according to how useful they are in maximising pleasure but it is usually on reflection On very rare occasions the rule will be broken due to the nature of the event, usually this is something extreme

Act

          Bentham’s form of Utilitarianism More primitive than Rule The consequences of every single action are calculated Advocates the use of the hedonic calculus Not based on a posteriori knowledge No past experience taken into account Does not follow any rules Consequences of every action calculated on their own merit Action that produces the maximum happiness for the majority is taken Bentham primarily concerned with quantifying happiness