The Understanding Of Utilitarianism: [Essay Example], 631 words GradesFixer

Haven't found the right essay?

Get an expert to write your essay!


Professional writers and researchers


Sources and citation are provided


3 hour delivery

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Understanding of Utilitarianism

Download Print

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay.

We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

Download PDF

If someone had to choose between killing an evil dictator, or saving the life of a single child, which option should that person pick? Utilitarian’s believe that we should make our predictions with the thought of everyone, not just ourselves. So even though both options produce good, a utilitarian would choose the one the produces the most good. They would choose to kill the evil dictator, because this option would save many more lives than just one.

Even though we do not know for sure what the outcome would be if they shoot the evil dictator, it is to our understanding that this would prevent the most bad. However, it is not impossible that the dictator could have a change of heart, thus ceasing all evil behavior. If this were to be the outcome, then saving the child’s life would have been the better option. The person shooting has no idea of knowing this however, so their initial decision would still be praised by utilitarian’s. John Stuart Mill said, “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness”

Utilitarianism provides an approach that establishes universal standards, providing clear guidance for all. It supports the notion that human wellbeing is generally good, so in turn it basically teaches us to treat others as you would have them treat you. This is good guidance for a society to follow, because everyone is thinking of the greater good, rather than for their own selfish motivations. It is not an overly complicated theory, it’s straightforward and based on the single principle of minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure and happiness. Although these are some good strengths, Utilitarianism is not without its weaknesses.

Once again, you can never know all the consequences of your actions. Going back to the scenario from earlier, I mentioned the possibility that the evil dictator could have a change of heart. If for whatever reason the person chooses to save the child’s life instead, what if that child then grew up to be just as evil as the dictator? This is an issue with Utilitarianism, there is no clear answer that our predictions will provide the most good. The theory can also advocate injustice. Say an innocent man is convicted guilty for a crime he did not commit, and just because the city needed someone to blame, they convict him to calm riots. The people are upset at the crime, thus start riots, but once the evil doer is convicted, the riots stop. Even though the person being convicted is innocent, his conviction produced the most good when the riots were stopped as a result.

There are many more strengths and weaknesses to the theory, but generally Utilitarianism is choosing whatever solution promotes the pleasure or happiness of the greatest number of people. It is a theory that has an eye for the greater good, or an attempt to avoid selfish thoughts and motives, and to instead progress and promote a healthy society. The theory came-to in a time where there was very little of this, and played a role in the social reform of London during the Industrial Revolution. Conditions at the time were terrible, but these conditions inspired people like Bentham to be an agent of social reform. It is important to understand that this theory takes in favor of everyone’s happiness equally. This is unlike egoists, who claim that a person should only maximize their own happiness, rather than that of all others. They believe if doing something bad makes us happy, it is good to do something bad. Utilitarian’s do not place their own happiness above that of others. They want to make the world a better place, increase social justice, or promote the general welfare.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

100% plagiarism free

Sources and citations are provided

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

The Understanding Of Utilitarianism. (2019, April 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 21, 2021, from
“The Understanding Of Utilitarianism.” GradesFixer, 26 Apr. 2019,
The Understanding Of Utilitarianism. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jan. 2021].
The Understanding Of Utilitarianism [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 26 [cited 2021 Jan 21]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.


    Attention! this essay is not unique. You can get 100% plagiarism FREE essay in 30sec

    Recieve 100% plagiarism-Free paper just for 4.99$ on email
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample

    Sorry, we cannot unicalize this essay. You can order Unique paper and our professionals Rewrite it for you



    Your essay sample has been sent.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer uses cookies. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.