Life on the principle of hedonism

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As the basis of the Bentham’ theory is the ethics which is built on the principle of hedonism which combines moral good with pleasure and enjoyment. Bentham supposed that the principle of the greatest happiness must be realized with the help of corresponding correct law, and that’s why he directed his forces at the development of such laws and principles. The first principle is the principle of the greatest happiness which is the normative guideline during the making of decisions. The second principle is the principle of psychological hedonism which is positive presentation about the behavior of people (when they follow their egoistic goals). And in such a way, such laws must set punishments and rewards to take into account the second principle of the people’s behavior, it must make them act according to the first principle. In both principles the main notion is something that is defined by the word “utility” and it is understood as the usefulness, happiness, pleasure and delight. According to Bentham, a person is a creature who aims to the pleasures. As the Bentham told, the nature put a man under the governance of two supreme masters – pain and pleasure. Only pain and pleasure can define what we can do and what we must do. This philosophy of utility (as it is the main goal and criteria for the people’s activity) became the one of the main carrying support of the economical theory in 19-20 centuries.

Bentham understood the society as the simple sum of individuals. As the society, according to his definition, is a fictitious body and there is no any common social interest. There are only interests of independent people and the social interest it is possible to imagine as the sum of these individual interests. Bentham thought that the freedom of behavior is absolutely not necessarily must lead to the harmony of the interests.

He tried to apply his principles into the building of law and he gave accuracy and certainty to his moral philosophy. And here we can see his idea of felicific calculus the basis of which is peculiar attempt to rank the pleasures and pains.

And the fundamental axiom for this arithmetic is the supposition about homogeneity of the pleasure and its measurability. The pleasures which the people get or a person gets during different time, they can differ according to seven features – intensity, duration, certainty, closeness in time, fruitfulness (the ability of the given pleasure to produce the new pleasures), purity (heterogeneity with the incidental suffering/pain), prevalence (ability to make a pleasure for the other people). But all pleasures with the different characteristics can be converted in the homogeneous pleasure.

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