Monday, 21 February 2011

Topshop Utilitarian + a brief introduction to the philosophy of Utilitarianism

First the polish. Worst pictures EVER. It looks gritty (it isn't), it looks very dark (it isn't). The bottle shows it properly. It's a lovely polish IRL.

2 coats. One might do it. I tried so desperately hard to get an accurate photo but cannot explain what went wrong. Familiar Topshop quality.

Now on to the much more interesting meat after the disappointing hors d'oeuvre.


This fascinated me as a teenager when I read an article (Sunday supplement, I think) about Jeremy Bentham. He died in 1832 and left his body to medical science. In the 60s or 70s his head was still on display in one of the London University colleges and there was a picture of it which both intrigued and disgusted me. Being a typical teenager with an interest in the macabre and radical thought I was hugely interested. Bentham advocated sexual equality and the liberalisation of laws against homosexuals amongst other things. Good egg.

This is NOT the real head which is now safely locked away as it became the target for student pranks (yuk!) but I believe that the skeleton stuffed with straw does remain the basis of the body.

Utilitarianism is swiftly described as ".. the greatest good for the greatest number.." Now read on!
This means that all acts require "Felicific calculus" to achieve "the greatest pleasure for the greatest number." Therefore there are definite rules and codes as to what the person must do in each situation to benefit the most people. The hedonic calculus is what Bentham thought all people must do before deciding the utility of the certain act in question. It is dependent on:
  • Its intensity.
  • Its duration.
  • Its certainty or uncertainty.
  • Its propinquity, or remoteness.
  • Its fecundity, or the chance it has of being followed by similar sensations: that is, pleasures, if it is pleasure: pains, if it is pain.
  • Its purity, or the chance it has of not being followed by, sensations of the opposite kind: that is, pain, if it is pleasure: pleasure, if it is pain.
  • Its extent (the number of people who are affected by it).
Hedonic calculus? It sounds so good, no? The text in italics is from wiki.

It's one way to determine your actions and not a bad one at that. Discuss.



  1. And now it's got a nail polish named after it :P

  2. I remember being taught/indoctrinated about Utilitarianism back in the day. Well, Year Nine (same thing, amirite?)

    Why would people play pranks with a body? Gross. Have some respect :P

  3. Jeremy Bentham would be proud! xxx

  4. Well, it's also a movement in fashion dedicated to the .... utilitarian. Suits this economy-era we have upon us.

  5. I like the colour, these kind of colours look so much nicer on nails than they do in the bottle :)
    Also, eww, who would play a prank with a head?!

  6. You're the psychologist, Gem!

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