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
Let’s start by gaining an understanding of what utilitarianism means. The definition given to us earlier in our textbook, Exploring Ethics, in the article, Strengths and Weaknesses of Utilitarianism, it defines act utilities as an act that, “is right if and only if it results in as much good as any available alternative”. This goes back to the tedious task of trying to analyze countless number of alternatives and figure out which one brings about the most
Although utilitarianism appears to be a simplistic theory, it in actuality is one of a more complex nature. There are many variables to consider when evaluating a utilitarian path of ethics. For example, whose happiness is more important and should be maximized? When organizations decide which is the better path to take for the group, they put into consideration only their own
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).
Hook. Both John Stuart Mill and Peter Singer approach 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 on the importance of selflessness, the idea that we can end human suffering, and the significance of consequences. However, their views conflict concerning the relevance of motivation. I contend that Singer improves upon Mill’s utilitarianism since Singer accurately recognizes the discrepancy between a life of absolute affluence and absolute poverty and also wrestles with the intricate concept of motive.
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.
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
In John Stuart Mill’s work Utilitarianism, Mill is trying to provide proof for his moral theory utilitarianism and disprove all the objections against it. Mill defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Ch. II, page 7). He calls this the “greatest happiness principle. Mill says, “No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except the fact that each person desires his own happiness, so far as he thinks it is attainable. But this is a fact; so we have not only all the proof that could be possibly demanded, that happiness is a good; that each person’s happiness is a good to that
Furthermore, Despite Walter Glannon’s second argument against genetic enhancement for personal gain, I contend that the philosophy of John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism can be used to show that society should will that genetic enhancement be morally acceptable if the adverse cognitive or emotional effects are outweighed by the benefits. Glannon argues that gene enhancement is morally objectionable because “there would be the unacceptable social cost of some people suffering from adverse cognitive or emotional effects of the enhancement.” Under Utilitarianism, society would likely deem that genetic enhancement is acceptable even though there is a risk of adverse cognitive or emotional effects. This is because the consequences of the
In “Utilitarianism,” John Stuart Mill responds to several objections to the utilitarian view, but what exactly is the utilitarianism view. Utilitarianism is the view that an action is good to the extent that it produces the greatest possible overall happiness or utility. According to Mill, utility is the pleasure itself and the absence of pain. What this means is that pleasure and the absence of pain are the only things desirable as end in themselves. It's the only things that is inherently good. A good example of utilitarianism would have to be about the Trolley Problem or to me gay rights. With gay rights, legalizing gay marriage would cause the greatest amount of happiness. Therefore, any circumstance, event, or experiences is desirable only if it for pleasure.
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.
Utilitarianism, in the contrary, is based on the principle of utility or usefulness. Utility is what encourages an agent to act in a particular way (Tuckett, 1998). Utility can be explained as maximizing the good like pleasure and happiness and minimizing the bad like pain and evil, all leading to the greater good for all parties involved. It weights the consequences of the actions equally between the ones involved, and the ethical solution would be to follow the greater good for most if not all the parties involved.
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.
Utilitarian theory was given by John Stuart Mill and it accepts the principle of utility as the standard for determining the rightness of actions. According to this theory, our actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. An act is right if it produces the best aggregate consequences for all those affected by that given act. Thus, consequences of an action are the focus of this theory and as it takes into consideration, everyone affected by the consequences of an action, it promotes equality. Since consequences of an action are the focus of this theory, the rightness or wrongness of an action can be is easily decided by examining the likely consequences of an action and comparing them with the likely consequences of an alternative action. The action with better consequences is the one that should be performed. Act utilitarianism (AU) and Rule utilitarianism (RU) are two strands of utilitarianism. Drawbacks of AU such as the limitations of human knowledge to anticipate all the consequences of our actions, inability to be impartial all the time, problem of free-riders, and lack of importance to special duties such as promise keeping, autonomy, beneficence etc. gave rise to RU. According to RU, individual actions are judged to be right or wrong according to the consequences of a universally adopted general rule describing the action to be carried out. In simple word, RU suggests that an action is