Strengths of utilitarianism
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  • 1. RS: Ethics: Utilitarianism Strengths/ Advantages of Utilitarianism  It is straightforward and based on the single principle of minimising pain and maximising pleasure and happiness. A system which aims to create a happier life for individuals and groups is attractive.  Given a common desire to benefit the majority of people, and a common sense of what is to their benefit, it yields results that are in line with common sense.  It is easy to demonstrate that Utilitarianism is fair, since its basic principles are widely accepted.  It does not appear to require the acceptance of any prior beliefs about the nature of the world or religion, and its moral discussions can therefore be appreciated across different religions and cultures.  Utilitarianism is the moral side of democracy. For example it is the basis for the health care system (NHS): care is provided to improve the health of the population and if more money is spent on the health service, people are healthier and therefore happier.  It relates to actions which can be observed in the real world (e.g. giving to charity promotes happiness for poor people and is seen to be good, whereas an act of cruelty is condemned as bad).  Its consequentialism is also a strength as when we act it is only natural to weigh up the consequences.  Utilitarianism’s acceptance of the universal principle is essential for any ethical system. It is important to go beyond your own personal point of view.  Preference Utilitarianism also gives us the valuable principle of ‘standing in someone else’s shoes’ as Hare puts it. It is important to think about others’ interests or preferences as long as one also includes behaving justly.