Hedonistic Utilitarianism Law and Legal Definition

Hedonistic utilitarianism is a theory that the validity of a law should be measured by determining the extent to which it promotes the greatest happiness to the greatest number of citizens. This theory is most prominently reflected in the work of Jeremy Bentham. Hedonistic utilitarianism generally maintains that pleasure is intrinsically good and pain intrinsically bad. Therefore, inflicting pain on an individual, as by punishing a criminal, is justified only if it results in a net increase of pleasure for society by deterring future harmful behavior. Hedonistic utilitarianism is also known as Benthamism.