The Greatest Happiness Principle By John Stuart Mill

1762 Words Apr 11th, 2016 8 Pages
Miski Hashi
PHI 240- 4202
Main Essay The Greatest Happiness principle Morality is used to determine whether an action is right or wrong. Many philosophers have come up with ways to determine the morality of an action, and one such philosopher is John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher and an advocate for utilitarianism. In utilitarianism, morality is based on the greatest happiness principle. The greatest happiness principle states that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to promote the reverse of happiness.” Mill believed that morality should be based on the action that brings about the greatest happiness of the general public. Morality, according to utilitarianism, is determined by the outcome of an action and not the motive or the person behind it. The purpose of this paper is to reveal the reasons why using the greatest happiness principle or utility is a not a good mechanism to decide whether an action is moral or not. This is due to the fact that it allows for some to sacrifice their happiness for the greater good, conflicts with moral institutions, does not give a way to objectively determine the nature and value of motives and since an individual cannot predict the future, he or she does not know the consequences of his or her actions.
According to Mill, in order for an action to be morally right, it must optimize the greatest happiness and minimize the least pain to those involved. Since these two are…
Open Document