Utilitarianism By John Stuart Mill

1805 Words8 Pages
In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill presents his exposition and his major defenses of the philosophy of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism, a theory in ethics developed by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, focuses on a concept of utility that focuses on deciding if actions are morally right or wrong by analyzing the pleasure and pain they cause. In other words, if an action causes primarily pleasure for all parties, then it must be good and right; however, if it causes pain for the parties involved, then it is bad and wrong. In his book, Mill expands on Bentham’s original ideas and presents some of his own ideas and nuances. In this paper, I will present Mill’s concept of Utilitarianism and some of his defenses of it, relate it to our modern society, and offer my own thoughts on the theory.
When Mill wrote his book, he sought to expand on the work already done by Bentham, who argued that ethical decisions should be based on maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. He agreed with the hedonic calculus approach, which is a simple mathematical approach to deciding the appropriate course of action in a moral question. The calculus is quite simple: a person weighs out the potential pleasures and pains of an action, giving them mathematical values. The values are then added together, and whichever side has the highest numeric value wins. Mill contends that pleasure, or happiness, is the one thing that everyone seeks. However, happiness alone is not what everyone seeks—quality

More about Utilitarianism By John Stuart Mill

Get Access