Utilitarianism : Mill 's Theory Of Utilitarianism

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Konstantin Keller
Anne Portman
Philosophy 2010
21 October 2015 In Chapters 2 and 4 of Utilitarianism, Mill responds and attempts to refute misconceptions and arguments against utilitarianism and further broadens his examination of happiness. Along with this he also defines the subtle differences in his own theory of utilitarianism. By claiming that it is better to be “better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied”, Mill asserts that it is better to use one’s higher capacities to be aware of the world whilst being unsatisfied than to be ignorant and naïve but blissful.
In Chapter 2, Mill begins by answering the objection which claims that utility is a separate concept from pleasure and happiness. He discerns this as simply a lack of education on the objector’s part, because the concept of utility is defined as pleasure itself and the absence of pain. He assumes that this misconception arose from people hearing the word “utility” and simply inferring that it’s something cold and opposed to pleasure because of how it sounds. He then proceeds to dub utility as “the Greatest Happiness Principle,” which holds that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure.” According to this definition, pleasure and the absence of pain are the only things that are inherently “good.” Therefore,

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