The Greatest Happiness for the Greatest Number of People
By definition, Utilitarianism implies that the greatest happiness of the majority number of people is the guiding principle of conduct or thinking (Bentham1789). It is the premise wherein we look at the consequences of the action, the feeling of the majority when making a moral decision. Whatever brings the greatest joy to the most number of people is the righteous decision. The majority rules. In philosophy, standardizing make guarantees about how things should be, how we value them, which things are good, that is, bring “the greatest value for the greatest number of people” (Hutcheson. 2002). Each action should be useful in bringing about the desired outcome. Bentham believed that a good life was one with pleasure and the absence of pain so everybody happy. Now it may sound ideal that pain is almost non-existent, but how can one person feel happy if they don’t know how pain feels like. So if all of society is into this thinking, like the fact that majority dislikes racial discrimination, it would have been eliminated or pacified years ago if only utilitarianism was applied in law. It is the theory of utility that all actions are done right as long as it promotes the happiness and contentment to all. Now, it is ideal to look out for the welfare of the majority, it may not be that simple. Nowadays, wherein we try to find our own happiness in any means possible, may it be in work or family relationships, we can’t help but sometimes, in our pursuit to be happy, we tend to cross other people and hurt them or affect them in an unpleasant way. Like in work, promotion and career growth is the ultimate sign of success and happiness, and once you get promoted, surely someone will be jealous or insignificant that will lead to sour feelings harbored. Competition in life is always on the side and along with it, someone is bound to loose. In this day and age, the safety of the strongest is the key to success, to each one of itself. We have the possibility to have a natural interest in maintaining oneself, showing oneself as desire to seek pleasure and to prevent illness. Of course, we will find our happiness in this life, which sometimes may be at the expense of others. Utilitarianism is suppressed.
Now in the case of Rorschach, as a utilitarian, it is quite the opposite of teaching. Probably his actions only reveal his own motive. He may only seek to avenge his friend’s death. It is favorable to those who love and know his friend who was killed, yes they might have also benefited for the death of the kidnapper. But this is not the “utility” of the majority that is satisfied here but it is revenge, one life is taken therefore a life would be a payment. In this case 14 lives are the payment. Almost everyone agrees that it is better for people to be happy with minimal suffering. That is not enough to make everything useful, because some people think that in addition, there are other, equally important, moral precepts that should never be destroyed. Most moral guidelines are helpful to what will bring about the best consequences. But if they are not – if we really know, with certainty, that following our moral values will have a serious consequence rather than destroying it – should we still follow it? We must also look at and identify the related consequences that will result from the actions we must take to promote greater good. In a utilitarian view one should take advantage of a general merit – that is, consider the good of others as well as their own goodness. There are also other moral values ??that we must examine and follow that must be reconciled as well in the philosophy of utilitarianism. It is still debatable.
Bentham, Jeremy.1789. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1907.
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Hutcheson, Francis. 2002. The Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. Schneewind, Moral Philosophy from Montaigne to Kant. Cambridge University Press. p. 515.