'utilitarianism can lead to wrong moral decisons' Watch
The quantitative approach of Bentham poses problems, as it is extremely difficult to make moral choices, all we can really do is guess the units of pleasure — how do we measure one pleasure against another? Should we try to maximise the average happiness or the total happiness e.g. should the government give tax cuts for the minority with the lowest income or spread the cuts more thinly across all taxpayers? Bentham would allow an evil majority to overcome over a good minority and the exploitation of minority groups does this not go against what we would consider ethical behaviour? This certainly does not appear to be an easy system to use.
The Hedonic Calculus is also extremely complex to use, how the duration of happiness can be predicted, how can the intensity of an event be measured-it is extremely difficult to measure this.
In contrast, Utilitarianism is a useful method for making moral decisions as it is applicable to all religions, cultures and beliefs, as all people believe that happiness should be aimed for and pain should be avoided. Furthermore, there is no need for extra knowledge or special wisdom as it is based on common sense and reason, which almost everyone else can do. It also treats everyone as equal, there are no special considerations as it is more of a democratic approach to utilitarianism. As it is worldwide, its usefulness is increased as it isn’t exclusive and can be applied by everyone. However, this could also be a disadvantage of utilitarianism, as some people, e.g. psychopaths, might have a distorted view of what ‘happiness’ is, and will be unable to make decisions on the consequences which would cause the most of it. As well as this, it assumes we have a common human nature with common desires. It leaves no room for individual tastes, or for some people to value highly something that others might think is of no account at all.