This origin-of-ethics theory
, proposed by Jeremy Bentham
and James Mill
, declared that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest happiness
for the greatest number of people. Originating in the 1800s, this theory strongly represents the (duh) utilitarian
ideas of the industrial revolution
: "Let's make things work!" There are 2 main sub-categories of Utilitarian theory:
Act-utilitarians believe that people should perform actions that serve other people. That is what makes one 'good.'
Rule-utilitarins believe that rules are made for the good of the majority of people. Therefore, a good person follows the rules.
A standard criticism of Utilitarian theory is that it would be perfectly morally acceptable to execute innocent people to prevent social ill for the majority. However, most of us find this immoral.