Jeremy Bentham - Essay Example

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Though he was one of the leading theorists of his era some of his ideas were considered to be somewhat radical at the time and he helped…
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Jeremy Bentham – Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham – Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham was a philosopher who hailed from Britain and was oneof the main people behind the development of the utilitarianism theory. Though he was one of the leading theorists of his era some of his ideas were considered to be somewhat radical at the time and he helped in the development of a number of other different theories apart from the aforementioned utilitarianism (Bykvist, 2009).
Utilitarianism is a theory that deals with the outcome of an activity or practice in terms of the results it bears with regard to the entire population it is affecting as a whole. The main basis behind this theory is that an act can be considered to be good or bad depending on the amount of people it is able to help against the number of people who may be inconvenienced so to speak by that same act. In short it can be said that the theory tends to focus on the greater good capacity of an act when determining whether the subject matter is to be considered good or detrimental towards the society (Bykvist, 2009). This is clearly seen in Jeremy Bentham’s claim that it is actually the largest happiness from the biggest number of people that can be considered to be the measure of right and wrong. To put it simply, whether an act is good or not is determined upon the maximization of that utility in question. Something can be considered to be good or bad based on whether it brings more good or bad as an end result.
Utilitarianism with Regard to Nursing and Healthcare Practices
This theory can be said to be both supported and contradicted by a number of nursing and healthcare practices. This can be explained by the diversity of the healthcare sector which means that hardly any two cases are exactly the same thus there are times when the theory may apply to healthcare practices while at other times it does not (Bykvist, 2009). A good example of a healthcare practice that supports this theory is the action of quarantining an individual with a contagious disease. Though such a move may be considered reclusive and even impersonal as the person is kept away from family and friends or any other support system to help them get through such hard times, it is for the greater good that it is done as allowing them contact with others may prove deadly to those who remain uninfected. A practice that may not fit into the greater good system would be the elimination of a ground zero subject who is putting other people at risk as the code of ethics does not support murder under any circumstance. In this instance the greater good is not enough to justify such an act.
Two sections of the ANA Code of Ethics that are supported by this ethical theory include Provision 6 which claims that a nurse is to participate in the creation of a suitable environment for both patients and healthcare practitioners to provide a conducive environment for the provision of healthcare (Lachman, 2006), and Provision 8 which states that a nurse is to collaborate with other professionals in the health department to promote communal efforts to meet health requirements and needs (Lachman, 2006). Both these provisions in the code of ethics tend to concentrate on the greater good as does the utilitarianism theory.
Bykvist, K. (2009). Utilitarianism. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Lachman, V. (2006). Applied ethics in nursing. New York: Springer Pub. Co. Read More
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