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Hard Times vs. Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism Defined. The belief that an action is right if it tends to produce happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the opposite of happiness- not just the happiness of the performer of the action but also that of everyone affected by it.

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Utilitarianism defined
Utilitarianism Defined

  • The belief that an action is right if it tends to produce happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the opposite of happiness- not just the happiness of the performer of the action but also that of everyone affected by it.


Jeremy bentham father of utilitarianism
Jeremy Bentham: Father of Utilitarianism

  • Originator of “The Greatest Happiness Principal”.

  • Believed one should always act out of self interest even at the expense of others.


John stuart mill
John Stuart Mill

  • Followed in Bentham’s footsteps taking utilitarianism a step further.

  • defines happiness as both intellectual and sensual, but we as humans choose intellectual pleasures over sensual.


Mechanization of britain
Mechanization of Britain

  • The industrial revolution had drastic effects on Britain. Industry took over towns while working and living conditions plummeted.


The industrial revolution and utilitarianism
The industrial revolution and Utilitarianism

  • Those that benefited financially from the industrial revolution (the middle class factory owners) loved the utilitarian ideology.

  • The utilitarian upper class thought It was alright if the lower class was suffering as long as they were gaining profit. The pursuit of individual happiness created greed and selfishness.


The characters of hard times utilitarianism and social class
The characters of hard times, utilitarianism and Social Class

  • All of the utilitarian characters in hard times are all members of the upper class(Bounderby, Gradgrind etc.) They are greedy and self absorbed and end up broken by the philosophy they have followed.

  • The non-utilitarian characters are all memebers of the working class (Sissy Jupe, Blackpool, sleary etc.) they maintain their kindness and turn out to be the most genuine characters in the book.