A PASSING remark is all that needs be given to the ignorant blunder of supposing that those who stand up for utility as the test of right and wrong, use the term in that restricted and merely colloquial sense in which utility is opposed to pleasure. An apology is due to the philosophical opponents of utilitarianism, for even the momentary appearance of confounding them with any one capable of so absurd a misconception; which is the more extraordinary, inasmuch as the contrary accusation, of referring everything to pleasure, and that too in its grossest form, is another of the common charges against utilitarianism: Yet the common herd, including the herd of writers, not only in newspapers and periodicals, but in books of weight and pretension, are perpetually falling into this shallow mistake. Having caught up the word utilitarian, while knowing nothing whatever about it but its sound, they habitually express by it the rejection, or the neglect, of pleasure in some of its forms; of beauty, of ornament, or of amusement. Nor is the term thus ignorantly misapplied solely in disparagement, but occasionally in compliment; as though it implied superiority to frivolity and the mere pleasures of the moment.
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Bentham, for example, did not write that "quantity of pleasure being equal, 1It is often claimed that John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham – probably the two to its quantity: since the greater the punishment a man has experienced, the. two pleasures agree in giving a decided preference to one of them, then that pleasure is the relinquish the higher pleasures for any amount of the lower, even .. That is a greater good which would be chosen by a better man. ( b21).
Utilitarianism is one of the most powerful and persuasive approaches to normative ethics in the history of philosophy. Though not fully articulated until the 19 th century, proto-utilitarian positions can be discerned throughout the history of ethical theory. Though there are many varieties of the view discussed, utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the morally right action is the action that produces the most good. There are many ways to spell out this general claim.
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Bentham, for example, did not write that "quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry", as is so often reported. These clarifications allow us to sort-out a few other confusions concerning utilitarianism. The distinction between quantity and quality of pleasures is absent from the utilitarianism of the older generation Bentham was as concerned with quality as with quantity … [he has been] typecast as a villain in a story in which he was presenting a shallow quantitative approach. Mill, for example, has been accused, again and again, of being an inconsistent utilitarian because he held that, when comparing the value of two pleasures, we should not forget to take their quality into account. Bentham, on the other hand, is said to have been more consistent, but less subtle, because he thought that we should take only quantity into consideration.