Utilitarianism is the principle idea for the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers. In other words, maximize the pleasure while minimizing the pain. One such philosopher and believer of Utilitarianism is Jeremy Bentham, who lived from 1748 until 1832. He believed that there should be a moral system, and that it should do two things. One, provide an account of what motivates people to act, and two, that this account must justify actions on the basis for motivation, not pure reason. He felt that pleasure and pain are mans to greatest motivators.
He wanted to design a scale, that could measure this pleasure and pain factor, but which was quite impossible to do. He said that in order to attempt to make this sort of scale, you must measure separate things. In order to measure these for an individual, you must look at intensity, duration, certainty, and distance. As for a group, you must look at intensity, direction, certainty, distance, fecundity, and purity. By looking at all these things, and weighing them all out, or looking to see which one has more good things, you can therefore make it so the greatest number of people have the greatest amount of happiness. Following up Bentham was John Stuart Mill, born in 1806, and lived until 1873.
Mill agreed that the importance was to minimize pain while maximizing pleasure, but some things he felt were different. He felt that on Benthams scale, some acts were, and should be looked at as being better, and more stronger on the part of a groups entire happiness. Mill also felt that there were two types of utilitarianism; act and rule. The first, act utilitarianism deals with what the outcome of a certain act will be. The second, rule utilitarianism deals with using utilitarianism in order to come up with rules that can then be used to mans benefit in society.
For this he felt there were two major parts. One of these types of rule utilitarianism deals with th existing rules while the other known as Ideal utilitarianism establishes the ideals against which specific acts are measured. Mill also felt that there were two types of ways to judge exactly how happy groups of people were. One of these such ways was through Aggregate utilitarianism, which measured the total happiness produced by an entire population. The Average utilitarianism showed the average amount of happiness produced by each member of a population. Political theorists because of three main issues majorly criticized Bentham.
First, they felt that almost anything could be looked at as justifiable. Such as lying to make more people happy. The second problem they had with Bentham was that they felt nothing was sacred in his account of utilitarianism. Lastly, they felt that his calcul ability of happiness was unreliable. It is said that Mills purpose was to revise Utilitarianism to keep it from being a discarded theory. This is true in a sense because Mill did make a few changes in order to quell the political theorists.
He stated that some acts are inherently better for the whole then others. He put more of a moral edge to Benthams theory and implements the Ideal utilitarianism idea into the utilitarianism theory.