Mill’s critics would likely say that Utilitarianism as a whole can function to create selfish people because all are striving towards a life of more pleasure than pain, but Mill shuts this down with the idea of happiness being impartial. Basically, a person must choose an action that yields the most happiness or pleasure, whether that pleasure is for them or not. Mill would recognize that, “Among the qualitatively superior ends are the moral ends, and it is in this that people acquire the sense that they have moral intuitions superior to mere self-interest” (Wilson). By this, it is meant that although people are supposed to take action that will produce the greatest pleasure, the do not do so in a purely selfish manner. Mill goes on to argue that the happiness of individuals is interconnected; therefore one cannot be selfish in such a way.
Aristotle’s teachings were stressed on moderation in government and in life. The importance of human character lead to his interpretation of happiness and a perfect society. Since a state would not be without habitants, it is fair to state that a societies happiness is achieved once the citizens have done the same. To Aristotle this is essential to the main point he makes in his teachings. He stresses that a model citizen illustrates the moral virtues of intelligence, and courage.# Developing this type of character as Aristotle states as “ human excellence” is an action of the soul for he believes it is the soul that is the bases of human individuality.# The idea becomes parallel on a political level for the citizens are the bases of a state.
Aristotle seems to believe that using this reasoning correctly, will involve humans going out into society to learn about the virtues. The virtues, like courage, do not come already prepackaged in the correct amount humans need. Humans have to find out how much courage they need and they do this by using their reason. They have to go out into society, use their reasoning correctly, determine the correct amount of virtue, and by performing this function correctly, they can aim at the true good which is happiness. This empirical approach affects Aristotle’s theory because it tries to outline the balanced character of humans with the virtues.
Rousseau theorized that the “savage” in the state of nature was not selfish, like Hobbes idea, but rather it arose as a result from the person’s interaction with society. He argued that people naturally have compassion for others who are suffering and that the civil society encourages us to believe we are superior to others. Therefore, the thought of being more powerful will cause us to suppress our virtuous feelings of kindness and instead change us into selfish humans. Both philosophers agreed that humans are naturally self-interested, however, Rousseau fails to understand the concept that there are insufficient resources for every human and that brutal competition is part of survival. When discussing Rousseau’s theory on the corruption of society, an interesting question arises.
I will argue that a Confucianist society is better, because it relies on action in a society, the use of virtue with rituals to learn, and the overall betterment of the self to create order in the community as a means of reaching Way. Actions dictate the experiences in humans' lives, and Confucius and Laozi disagreed in their view of whether individuals should take action to achieve the Way. Confucius believed it was necessary and prevalent in society to act, since he lived during the period of the Warring States. He wanted to fix the leaders' problems, and he felt he could only achieve this through action, because "he who behaves with honor, and being sent on a mission to the four corners of the world does not bring disgrace to his lord, deserves to be called a gentleman". He felt a person had the best chance at acquiring the Way by being a gentleman.
Secondly, there is a difference between moral virtues and intellectual virtues and lastly, leading a good life is a state of character. Personally and widely accepted, happiness is believed to be a true defining factor on leading a well intentioned, rational, and satisfactory life. However, it is important to note the ways in which one achieves their happiness, through the people and experiences to reach that state of being. In consequence, Aristotle’s focus on happiness presents a more arguable notion of “good character” and “rational.” John Stuart Mill believes in a utilitarian society where people are seen as “things.” Moreover, in utilitarianism the focus of the goal is “forward-looking”, in looking at the consequences but not the ini... ... middle of paper ... ...g the other consequences and harms of the decision made. In conclusion, Aristotle’s elucidation of happiness is based on a ground of ethics because happiness to him is coveted for happiness alone.
The less governed a society is, the better it will turn out is a view of his. Using things such as force would make the people resent him and not look at him as the “Guardian of the State.” The same goes for being narcissistic or boasting about their power. Even though they were from two different time periods, Lao-tzu and Machiavelli agree on some rules of ruling a society. Both want to help the people out with their basic needs, Machiavelli having military protection as the main one. Also, they want to have adaptable ruling to make the people happier and less likely to cause chaos in the society.
Ideally, public good should be more pursued for an individual to embrace a good life as it encompasses happiness that private good cannot produce. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and “The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses” demonstrate how people make choices for their own benefit, one where a family’s privacy is violated and the other where bribery reigns. Both readings also illustrate that interest in the public good would help maintain a good life and the outcome of the choices would be favorable to the majority. When we want to satisfy our many desires, we begin to affect those around us. In the reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, Henrietta Lacks seems to play the role of
The Evolution of Ethics A goal implicit in human evolution is survival; thus, humanity directs some of its energy toward creating a state of peace to achieve the necessary efficiency and conservation of energy to survive in a hostile and sometimes unpredictable world. The foundation of the emergence of rule systems in the world is built upon centuries of reasoned insight and personal experiences that reveal which actions are better than others, which are productive, and which are disruptive and should be avoided. As efficient actions reveal themselves to an evolving society, its people develop the means to make productive choices between one type of action and another. Some choices are decidedly better than others. This prioritizing of human actions into efficient hierarchies establishes the foundations of rule systems which later refine themselves into more sophisticated systems of morals, manners and statutory laws.
Wishing a more equal distribution of wealth, Robin Hood helps the most vulnerable people in society. He does not keep the wealth himself, but rather, gives it away. It is his internal goodness and unselfishness that prevents him from violating the Principle of Retributive Justice. He does not deserve punishment, as his motivations were not immoral. Utilitarianism inspires Robin Hood as he strives to create a better world and a more prosperous society.