Criticism Of Utilitarianism By John Stuart Mill

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Option 2 – Criticisms of Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill was a 19th century influential philosopher and strong advocate of the moral theory, utilitarianism. Utilitarianism centers on the idea that whether actions are morally right or wrong depends on their outcomes. Significantly, “the only effects of actions that are relevant are the good and bad results that they produce” (Nathanson). But this has led to many interpretations of utilitarianism and to challenges and criticisms it has receive over the centuries. Such opponents not only included other moral theorist, but supporters of the utilitarian branch as well. Mill, a gift to the utilitarianism community , strove to reform it by laying out the distinction between individual actions and types of actions. He performs this by providing philosophical support for pursuing “higher pleasures” and social order under utilitarianism. The classical utilitarianism - specifically Bentham’s hedonistic tradition - proposes that pleasure is the one and only intrinsic good. Things are good insofar as they are pleasant, and happiness consists in pleasure (Brink). This was the traditional layout of utilitarianism and due to this, it was easily criticized it to be morality for swine (Fox, PPTX). Mill undermines this conception of pleasure by arguing that we can, instead derive pleasure through “higher pleasures” besides carnal or “lower pleasures”. The canonical expression of this contrast is between the lower pleasure of push pin
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