Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Alsharad, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Alsharad

    Alsharad Member

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    I am not sure that this belongs here, but I just heard a discussion on TV and one of the people in the discussion said that an act is judged based on the amount of good it does for the greatest number of people.

    I was curious as to what people on this forum thought.

    I have my own ideas, but I wanted to get some feedback on the thought first.
  2. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake resigned HipForums Supporter

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    "The greatest good for the greatest number" - that sums up the idea of utilitarianism. It was a philosophy proclaimed in the early 19th c. by Jeremy Bentham and others. It was influential in shaping social policy in England during the period. In some respects its influence was good, in others bad. It led, for example, to the setting up of 'Workhouses' - institutions in which the poor were virtually incarcerated under very harsh conditions, and also to a somewhat brutal penal system.
    On the plus side, it led also to reforms in areas like public health.
    Overall, it seems to me to be too narrow a set of conceptions. I don't think that everything can be judged according to its utility, or seeming lack of utility. And it is very hard often to see what the greatest good for the greatest number actually means.

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