Utilitarianism, By John Stuart Mill

Decent Essays
Act Utilitarianism is a long standing and well supported philosophical argument that when boiled down to its most basic elements, can be described as creating “the greatest good for the greatest number” (122). Such was the sentiment of John Stuart Mill, one of act utilitarianism’s (also known as just utilitarianism) greatest pioneers, and promoters. Mills believed that his theory of always acting in a way that achieved the greatest net happiness was both superior to other philosophical theories and also more beneficial to the general public. However, as often occurs in the field of philosophy, there were many detractors to Mill’s ideas. Two specifically strong arguments are known as the doctrine of the swine, as well as man’s lack of time. While both certainly present valid arguments against Utilitarianism, neither is damning of the theory altogether. To fully understand and evaluate the objections raised by those not in favor of Utilitarianism, a better explanation of this ethical code is needed. Championed by men like John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism revolves around the moral standard of the “principle of utility” (122). This principle states that any action which brings about the most overall well-being into the world is both correct and actually morally required, and that by not acting on your “best” option, a person is acting immorally. An attractive aspect of this moral standard, at least to the majority of people, is that under its laws, all people’s happiness is
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