Utilitarianism is probably the greatest work by Jeremy Bentham. The ethical foundations he laid down are still widely accepted by the general public. Bentham based his moral philosophy of Utilitarianism in public good and happiness. He argued that people should act in a way so as to maximize public good for the maximum number of people (Bentham, 3). The moral philosophy of Bentham became famous because it was representative of human nature. Before Bentham moral philosophy was based on complex principles and there was a divide between moral philosophies and the general public. Bentham brought moral philosophy and ethics within the grasp of the general public. The concept of maximum good for the maximum people is quite easy to understand and this is one reason why people still discuss and apply this theory when facing ethical dilemmas.
Jeremy Bentham got his bachelors and masters degree from The Queen’s College, Oxford. He was from an educated family therefore he got all the necessary training and education from his family. Bentham presented many social reforms related to prison system, women, and economic freedom. He was an ardent proponent of women’s right and thought that women should get equal right to men.
The aim of Bentham’s philosophy was to maximize the public benefit and minimize the pain of the people. All of the social reforms and changes in the legislature suggested by Bentham were based on the principle of maximum utility of the society. He thought that laws should be aimed to benefit the public in general so that overall happiness of the society can be increased. Pleasure and pain according to Bentham were the main motivators of human action therefore his ethics is based upon increasing pleasure and reducing pain of the maximum number of people in the society.
Contribution of Jeremy Bentham to the subject of ethics is great because his theory of utilitarianism is stills studied in every ethics related course all over the globe.