"The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation"
- Jeremy Bentham
About this Quote
This quote by Jeremy Bentham is a fundamental concept of utilitarianism, which is a moral approach that states that the best action is the one that takes full advantage of utility, or happiness. Bentham's quote suggests that the best happiness of the greatest number should be the basis of morality and law. This suggests that when making decisions, the best helpful for the best variety of individuals need to be considered. This is a consequentialist technique to morality, as it concentrates on the outcome of an action rather than the action itself. Bentham's quote recommends that morality and law need to be based upon the idea of optimizing joy for the greatest number of individuals, rather than on a set of absolute ethical concepts. This concept has actually been influential in the advancement of modern ethical and legal systems, as it emphasizes the significance of thinking about the consequences of an action before deciding.