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Are the Ethics Ethical

Updated on October 9, 2017
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Are the Ethics Ethical?

Jeremy Bentham was an “English reformer who first attained attention as a critic of the leading legal theorist in the eighteenth century England, Sir William Blackstone (Mautner)”. Jeremy Bentham believed that a concept of utilitarianism was how humans abide by their lives. Utilitarianism consists humans seeking out pleasure and minimizing pain. In other ways, “The principle of utility is the foundation of reason and law (An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation Chapter I)”. The idea of utilitarianism is the embodiment of the entirety of the way the human race functions, whether public or private. There is no proof of utilitarianism, but it can be understood, for instance asking someone what they enjoy doing and what they find painful or inconvenient to their lives. All humans due to such vast diverse environments have some sort of natural conception of what is good for them, such as good dieting, mental stimulation, or fitness. Due to humans being amassed to a caste system, a system based on financial status some ideas of what is pleasurable may be misconstrued for instance drugs, sex, and control over a minor or large population of humans but nonetheless ones opinion to the other will never disprove nor validate what is the right and wrong pleasure.

Bentham’s bases of calculating utility has a certain set of ideologies which governs pleasure and pain, a general conception of Bentham’s measure of pleasure and pain from “An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation Chapter IV”, intensity, duration, certainty and uncertainty, propinquity, fecundity, purity, extent. The intensity of the pleasure dignifies the quota of pleasure in terms of minimized pain, duration is the measure of how long pain will last, certainty and uncertainty defines the assurance and validation that pleasure is sure to be achieved. Propinquity is a measure of time and distance, to a degree convenience of the pleasure, for example a flight overseas, or road trip. Fecundity is the prolificacy of the pleasure, or how much individual or unique aspects the pleasure has to itself while minimizing pain, an example of the fertility of pleasure can vary for instance performing music, doing a religious sermon, maybe creating an art piece all these pleasures listed has a fertility to them that distinguishes the pleasure unique and. Purity defines how pleasure overall is achieved in whatever action a human deems pleasurable and how pain is a near non-factor, for instance, the likeness of a human helping the homeless, it minimizes a person’s hubris and also humbles people as a whole into how their lives could be so much worse than what they may or may not complain about, all the while it is aiding someone in a lower class or even below the caste system living nomadic however the day comes to get food, possibly shelter, and furthermore. The last of Bentham’s measure of pleasure and pain consist of extent of the pain or pleasure, or how long it will last, or be around a simple concept.

There are other ways that Bentham considers a human can reason or define what is just, these methods are known as philosophical or religious aestheticism and principal of sympathy and antipathy. Bentham discusses these alternatives in “An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation Chapter II”. Philosophical aestheticism implies not all pains are bad, for example the ripping the muscles and sore aftermath of a workout, its uncomfortable to some it can hurt very much so worse than others depending on body makeup, but nonetheless the results if consistent lead to beauty and a healthier body. Religious aestheticism implies some pains are a good, for instance some religions believe masochism to a degree sadism is a necessary aspect to living life the proper way, demented activities such as fasting, human sacrifice, or self-infliction to create wounds upon your own body as an attempt to weigh the pain of your sins to the infliction placed on your own body. The principal of sympathy and antipathy is a relatively simple alternative because it is simply the feeling for or against something, this principal completely opposes utilitarianism. According to Bentham Aestheticism is defected because as mentioned some pains are hard to determine pleasurable such as destroying your human body, previously mentioned in an example of religious aestheticism. The principal of sympathy and antipathy brings an inconsistent measure of true pleasure and pain this principal could impose bad goods or tyrannical behavior an example of this would be a corrupt government.

Utilitarianism is a very strategic and logic measure as to how us humans reason with our life, the measure of pleasure and pain in its simplistic sense, the only malefactor of utilitarianism is that in truth pleasure and pain can never truly be defined, the infinite possibilities of all varying species capable of rational thought, because of such vast environments, vast separation, and vast presence it will take more existence and advancement of the human race as a whole to define what is pain or pleasure.


Mautner, Thomas. "Jeremy Bentham." Jeremy Bentham. The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy, 2005. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

"An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation." Jeremy Bentham, , Chapter I-IV. Oxford: Clarendon Press, n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

© 2017 niphilheim


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