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Greatest happiness principle

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The Greatest Happiness Principle is the central tenet of utilitarian moral theory. It states that the correct action in any situation is that which brings the most happiness to the most people.

To determine your level of Utility, Jeremy Bentham developed 7 categories. They are as follows:

    1.  Intensity - How intense is the pleasure?
    2.  Duration - How long will the pleasure last?
    3.  Certainty - How certain are you that the pleasure will occur?
    4.  Proximity - How soon will the pleasure occur?
    5.  Fecundity - How many more pleasures will happen as a result of this one?
    6.  Purity - How free from pain is the pleasure?
    7.  Extent - How many others will experience this pleasure?

It was first developed by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). He used felicific calculus to determine whether something is moral (overall good) or immoral (overall bad). His methods were radical for the time period, but from what information we know he is the only one to completely adopt his methods of declaring something moral or not.

Bentham protege John Stuart Mill elaborated a slightly different version of the Greatest Happiness Principle in his work Utilitarianism. He declared that "Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Mill, Utilitarianism). This modification was, in part, a response to objections that Utilitarianism was flawed because many situations which require an ethical decision do not allow for a happy outcome for anyone involved. Thus, with the modification, Mill allows for ethical decisions that, while not promoting happiness, at least minimize the pain involved.

((enWP|Greatest happiness principle}}

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