“The greatest happiness for the greatest number”
• Happiness is the only thing that is good in itself
• It is moral to sacrifice one’s desires to help the “greatest number”
• Jeremy Bentham
• Hedonic calculus
• Its intensity
• Its duration
• Its certainty or uncertainty
• Its nearness or remoteness how wide
ranging is it?
• Its ability to continue. How continuous is
• Its purity – the chance it has of not
producing the opposite .
• Who is affected by it?
• John Stuart Mill 1806 – 1873
• Mill rejected Bentham’s use of the
Hedonic Calculus. In his view some
pleasures are of a higher quality than
• higher pleasures – intellectual
But pleasures of the body are lower
pleasures – appetite.
• It is moral to set aside a rule if we have a good reason for
• Ethical decisions should follow flexible guidelines rather than
absolute rules, and be taken on a case by case basis.
• Only one thing is intrinsically good: love.
• Doing good is a matter of acting in love. All we need is love.
A christian approach
• Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991)
• Moral judgments are decisions, not conclusions
• Only one thing is intrinsically good, namely,
love: nothing else
• Love "wills the neighbour's good" [desires the
best for our neighbour] whether we like them
• Love and justice are the same, for justice is love
• The rightness depends on many factors
• Love as “agape”
• Rules are not to guide but to illuminate.
• Is it OK to approve same-sex marriage and stem cell studies?
• According to your answer, do you consider yourself a