felicific calculus

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Jeremy Bentham (1748—1832) philosopher, jurist, and reformer



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The possibility of computing the value of ‘units’ of happiness, associated with the utilitarianism of Bentham. Happiness, or the end of action, is to be measured in terms of units of pleasure. These are ordered by intensity, duration, and propinquity, although the value of particular pleasures may be discounted by the probable quantity and quality of pleasures or pains to which they are a means. The total is supposed to provide an objective framework with which the comparative value of different courses of action can be measured.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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