Utilitarianism is the ethical principle that action is right if it tends to maximize happiness, not only that of the agent but of everyone affected by his/her act. It focuses on the consequences of an act rather than on its intrinsic nature or the motives of the agent. The basis of Utilitarianism is that happiness and pleasure are valuable and pain and suffering are not. As the phrase goes, "the greatest good of the greatest number". In order to practice this slogan, the following procedure must be done:.
1. Look at the level of happiness achieved by each person affected in the various situations.
2. Add up the levels of happiness in each case.
3. And lastly, compare the results. The one, which leads to the highest level of happiness, is morally correct decision.
Those who consider themselves utilitarian would all agree that the action itself has no moral value. The actions effect on the state of the world does. Utilitarians believe that only individuals matter; not families or society. These individuals are equals, meaning one persons happiness is as important as the next. Since everyone is considered equal, utilitarians disagree with any arbitrary distinctions as to who is worthy of concern and who isn't; meaning that they egoism, racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.
Epicurus was the first to introduce Utilitarianism to the world. He focused on the belief of making life enjoyable because once you die, there is nothing. You don't possess sensation so death is not with us when we are living because as long as we are alive, we will never feel death. As long as we"re dead, we do not exist anymore. Jeremy Bentham, "Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation", formulated the principle of utility in 1789. He believes that the rightness of an action entirely depends on the value of it's consequences. The standard of value is pleasure and the absence of pain. John Stuart Mill was the son of Bentham's best friend James Mill.