Throughout Philosophy, morality is a central theme. Although each scholar views the definition of morality differently, the goal of people to be better and think for themselves is the main focus. Many philosophers have defined and categorized utilitarianism in different ways. In normative ethics, Jeremy Bentham believes an action is right if it promotes happiness and wrong if it produces the reverse of happiness but not just the happiness of a person who performed the action but also everyone that was affected by it (Duignan). Utilitarianism is the view that the morally right action is the action that has the most good (Driver). The foundation of morality in utilitarianism comes from utility or intrinsic value (Skorupski 256). In utilitarianism actions are evaluated by their utility instead of intrinsic properties of the actions (Skorupski 256). Utilitarianism says certain acts are right or wrong in themselves making us perform them or do not do them at all. On the contrary, concepts of the good go hand and hand with that of rights and obligation causing obligation to be determined by intrinsic value (Skorupski 256). John Stuart Mill theory of utilitarianism reveals what is utilitarianism, the morality, proof of validity, and the connection between justice and utility in the study of thinking.
"The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Mill 55). This is how Mill first presents the idea of Utilitarianism. If it promotes happiness it is right, if it promotes the reverse of happiness, then it is wrong. If one were to simply take this statement, without further
Utilitarianism’s believe in that only the outcomes matter when it comes to decisions and morality, however, those outcomes can also be questioned. Mill forms the framework of utilitarianism by discussing it in a way that makes assumptions; these objections can also be questioned against also.
Utilitarianism defined, is the contention that a man should judge everything based on the ability to promote the greatest individual happiness. In other words Utilitarianism states that good is what brings the most happiness to the most people. John Stuart Mill based his utilitarian principle on the decisions that we make. He says the decisions should always benefit the most people as much as possible no matter what the consequences might be. Mill says that we should weigh the outcomes and make our decisions based on the outcome that benefits the majority of the people. This leads to him stating that pleasure is the only desirable consequence of our decision or actions. Mill believes that human
Utilitarian is defined as; the doctrine that an action is right as far as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct. This is the defining principle of the philosophy that is Mill’s. His philosophy is based on the concept that the pleasures of most trumps the pleasures of few. In another one of Mill’s works “On Liberty” he speaks more on the way that society should work in a way that creates a system of success universally. Mill writes, “What was now wanted was, that the rulers should be identified with the people; that their interest and will should be the interest and will of the nation.” (Mill,2) Mill writes this for a ruler needs to release selfish tendencies when he is leading a nation or any group of people and look out for the wellbeing of all. Mill’s utilitarian society would be a society were all selfishness would be gone creating a world were bribes and other back door deals where problems are created would vanish and create a more balanced society. Mill says, “It may be further objected, that many who begin with youthful enthusiasm for everything noble, as they advance in years sink into indolence and selfishness. But I do not believe that those who undergo this very common change, voluntarily choose the lower
John Stuart Mill, among other things, was an English philosopher and economist who lived from 1806 to 1873. Mill grew up being immersed in the principles of utilitarianism. Mill’s essay on utilitarianism, titled Utilitarianism, was written to debunk misconceptions of and to provide support for the ideology. Mill’s essay and argument span five chapters, where his discussions range from definitions, misconceptions, rewards, methods, and validity. Utilitarianism is generally held to be the view that the “morally right action is the action that produces the most good” (Driver). Mill believed that, as humans, we have an obligation to perform the action that achieves the best or most positive result or outcome. The best consequence in the experiment, according to Mill, would be to save as many lives as possible, and that would entail Jim killing the one Indian in order to save the rest of the Indians. Saving as many lives as possible, although having to sacrifice one life, would be the best consequence because it is “considered the absolute good” (Shakil). For this reason, Mill would advise Jim to kill the one Indian. Killing one in order to save the lives of many others is the best outcome out of all the choices. One proponent of utilitarianism is consequentialism. Consequentialism is the notion that whether an action is morally right or wrong depends “entirely on its consequences. An action is right if it brings about the best outcome of the choices available” (Utilitarianism).
John Stuart Mill begins the explanation of his version of Utilitarianism by replying to common misconceptions that people hold regarding the theory, and as a result describes his own theory more clearly. The main issue that Mill raises is that people misinterpret the word “utility” as in opposition to “pleasure”. However, utility is actually defined as pleasure itself and also the absence of pain.
2. Explanation: Mills innovates by prioritizing and connecting pleasure with happiness. Pleasure itself is a virtue. Utilitarianism acknowledges individual actions that benefit the greatest number. It affirms majority happiness and individual general happiness. In simple terms it affirms all actions need to be guided towards attaining happiness. As a result this keys this utilitarianism valid,because happiness is universally sought. 3.Quote: Robert. H.Hoag explains in Happiness and Freedom: Recent Work on John Stuart Mill “ Thus, on Mill's view, pleasures, virtue, money, fame, in- individuality, and power can be desired or desirable both as ends and as means to happiness, both as parts of and in relation to happiness.”(Pg. 6) 4. Analysis: “ Utilitarianism can be simply seen as maximizing happiness for the greatest number while mitigating pain. While valid, it affirms human desire. It shows that it's ok for people to desire grandoise. For anything is accessible to one's life. Thus utilitarianism remains valid because it promotes all human pursuits. As long as it's in relation to one's happyiness and generates minimal suffering. In effect your own happyiness should promote the happiness of others. Thus this will mill's theory valid. 5. Transition:() Utilitarianism is especially useful because it gives a clearly defined goal, maximize the good and minimize the
How do we apply aged philosophies to present day problems? Like his forefather John Stuart Mill, modern thinker Peter Singer approaches moral philosophy from a utilitarian perspective. In this paper, I will argue that Singer’s and Mill’s utilitarian philosophies share numerous similarities but also differ. Singer and Mill agree that selflessness can end human suffering. In addition, their views concerning the significance of consequences align; however, they conflict on the relevance of motivation. I contend that Singer improves upon Mill’s utilitarianism by accurately recognizing the discrepancy between absolute affluence and absolute poverty and also by considering the intricate concept of motive.
One of the first misconceptions of Utilitarianism that Mill addresses is that it is often interpreted as the opposition of pleasure. Mill corrects this falsehood by stating the following: “Those who know anything about the matter are aware that every writer, from Epicurus to Bentham, be contradistinguished from pleasure, but pleasure itself, together with exemption from pain; and instead of opposing the useful to the agreeable or the ornamental, have always declared that the useful means these, among other things” (Mill, 2007, p. 5). Utilitarianism is, in
Mill writes of utilitarianism in the eponymous work Utilitarianism. According to his work utilitarianism is a means of deciding the moral value of actions. Mill’s theory takes a consequentialist view of actions, saying that the moral worth of an action is decided by the outcome, or consequence. This decision of moral worth is determined by whether the outcome maximizes happiness and minimizes the reverse of happiness. Mill writes that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” Happiness is defined as pleasure and the absence of pain according to Mill, and the action must be considered for the outcome it brings to the most people. This happiness, or pleasure and lack of pain,
Mill also states that an existence with the possibility of happiness must be “…to the greatest extent possible, secured to all mankind; and not to them only, but, so far as the nature of things admits, to the whole sentient creation (234)”. Utilitarianism not only focuses on the attainment of happiness, but the prevention of pain and unhappiness. (230)
In his essay, Utilitarianism Mill elaborates on Utilitarianism as a moral theory and responds to misconceptions about it. Utilitarianism, in Mill’s words, is the view that »actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.«1 In that way, Utilitarianism offers an answer to the fundamental question Ethics is concerned about: ‘How should one live?’ or ‘What is the good or right way to live?’.
This work has probably received more analysis than any other work on utilitarianism available. However, I seek to do here what many others have been unable to accomplish so far. I hope to, in five paragraphs, cover each of the chapters of Utilitarianism in enough depth to allow any reader to decide whether or not they subscribe to Mill's doctrine, and if so, which part or parts they subscribe to. I do this with the realization that much of Mill's deliberation in the text will be completely gone. I suggest that anyone who seeks to fully understand Mill's work should read it at length.
John Stuart Mill, in his Utilitarianism, turns morality into a practical problem. His moral theory is designed to help one evaluate his moral principles and senisibilites and be able to ajudicate conflictions in moral conflicts. Mill postulates that actions are right so far as they tend to promote happiness and minimize pain. This theory manifests itself as an impartial promotion of happiness. Morally "right" actions are ones which promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number number of people and reduce pain. Utilitarian moral theories need to be coupled with theories of well-being, so that we can point to what is being maximized through the moral theory's operation. Mill's moral theory is