Higher vs. Lower Pleasures

1463 WordsDec 19, 20136 Pages
Are Higher Pleasures Unique to Human Beings? John Stuart Mill argues in Utilitarianism that higher pleasures are unique to human beings. Higher pleasures are those pleasures that require some minimum of cognitive capacities to enjoy. More specifically, higher pleasures are intellectual pleasures while lower pleasures are sensual pleasures. Mill argues that animals are not capable of experiencing higher pleasures because animals are not aware of their higher facilities; animals lack the conscious ability to be curious, to achieve a sense of self-worth from volunteering, or to hold a deep and intellectual conversation. Mill successfully argues in Utilitarianism that higher pleasures are not only distinct and unique to human beings,…show more content…
The chapter states that if animals are conscious, their conscious level probably varies from the simplest feelings to thinking about the common problems they can face, and ways to avoid it. As stated above, consciousness requires some form minimum of cognitive capacities, animals lack any form of cognitive capacities, leaving higher pleasures distinctively unique to human beings. The central question in the article is whether or not animals experience a form of basic consciousness, and if so, what is the content of their awareness, a question that can help us better understand them, their way of life, and what type of pleasures they experience. Referring back to Mill's Utilitarianism, Mill argues that higher pleasures are more desirable and more valuable than lower pleasures. Utilitarian writers, in general, agree that higher pleasures are superior to lower pleasures because they place an emphasize on mental pleasures over bodily pleasures. And in general, Utilitarian writers agree that although you can enjoy more lower pleasures, you cannot consider quality alongside quantity; the level of your happiness should depend on the quantity of your pleasures. At this point, I think it would be fair to say that animals posses some form of primary or basic
Open Document