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Outline the main features of Utilitarianism

             The theory of Utilitarianism was developed by and is associated with Jeremy Bentham, a social reformer who believed that acceptable laws were those that produced virtuous social benefits and vice versa. Bentham often compared himself to Newton and strived to produce something as beneficial for society as Newton did. His chief interest was legislation: he saw the people who decide the Laws as the integral component and key success to Utilitarianism. "The principle of utility has probably provided the greatest impetus to modern social reforms in the UK, such as the Divorce and Abortion Acts of the 1960s. These were reforms that reflected a typical utilitarian concern with maximising certain freedoms in order to minimise certain social evils, but by means of utilitarian compromise with "something for everyone."".
             Bentham describes the principle of utility as being "The greatest good for the greatest number," believing this would create happiness, an intrinsic key to life. Therefore Bentham views utilitarianism in terms of individuals and how certain actions affect that individual. This concept is based on freedom of actions as Bentham rejected deontological theories such as the ethics of Immanuel Kant or traditional Christian ethics. He supposed people should be at liberty to act how they judge right or otherwise there is no valid morality. Utilitarian principles were put into action in such things as Victorian prison reform: considering it made sense for criminals to have an education in order to improve society as a whole. Sewage disposal materialised from this theory. This led to a decrease in deaths and in people not going to work thus reducing the amount of people on poor relief. Although expensive ideas, they were beneficial in the long term and after thirty or forty years, paid for themselves. Consequently this had a direct impact and has changed millions of peoples lives, both now and then.

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