What is Utilitarianism? - Definition & Theory


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What is the greatest happiness principle?

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1. What is the basic belief of utilitarianism?

2. In ethical theory, what does 'good' mean?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Utilitarianism is a ethical theory that examines actions and determines whether they are good or bad depending on whether they result in happiness and benefits or privation and other negative consequences. This quiz/worksheet combo helps you understand how utilitarianism evolved over the course of the 19th century as well as how utilitarians define and measure happiness and morality.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments you'll be tested on:

  • The greatest happiness principle
  • The definition of a utility
  • Normative ethics
  • Philosophers credited with developing modern utilitarianism
  • High and low pleasures

Skills Practiced

This quiz and worksheet lets students practice the following skills:

  • Information recall - access your knowledge on utilitarianism theory
  • Defining key concepts - ensure you can accurately define main ideas such as normative ethics and greatest happiness principle
  • Distinguishing differences - compare and contrast lower pleasures and higher pleasures
  • Knowledge application - use you knowledge to answer questions about utilitarianism and the criteria the theory uses to examine actions

Additional Learning

To learn more, review the accompanying lesson What is Utilitarianism? - Definition & Theory. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Understand the basic theory of utilitarianism
  • Explain how Jeremy Bentham blended utilitarianism and economics
  • Know John Stuart Mill's role in promoting utilitarianism
  • Describe the utilitarian view of man