The fundamental objective of Hedonistic Utilitarianism would be to maximize happiness while minimizing pain (Sober 416). Supported by philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, the theory of Utilitarianism has been criticized, reformed, and researched in order to view the different situations in which this theory may produce positive or negative outcomes. Although this moral theory, was established with positive intentions there have been ethical conflictions created by this theory. Such as the understanding that the hedonistic utilitarian moral theory maintains a very subjective motivation, destroys autonomy, and creates a false sense of self. One of those situational theories is the experience machine hypothesis.
Mills responds to this objection by explaining how secondary moral reasoning and the fundamental principle of morality are taken into account when deciding what promotes the most overall happiness. After explaining his argument, I believe Mill succeeds in responding to the objection, he explains why it shouldn’t be a problem when weighing the best possible outcome by using the secondary moral rule as the first principle. According to Mill, there are several elements to the principle of utility. First, it allows people to choose the action that promotes the most happiness. As stated, Mill believes that an action is right if it promotes happiness and an action is wrong if it promotes pain.
Mill claims that morals find their root in Utility, otherwise called the Greatest Happiness Principle. (513) The essence of this is that actions are right in proportion to how much happiness results from them and wrong in proportion to how much they cause the reverse of it. (513) In defending this, he claims that in truth, every action we make, we decide based on this principle. (513) Thus, the best life to live is one that is the most filled with happiness, and has the least unhappiness in it. Happiness is intended pleasure or absence of pain.
Oxford University Press, p. 121 Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2011). Consequentialism. The Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy, Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2011/entries/consequentialism/ Williams, B. (1973) ‘A Critique of Utilitarianism’ in Smart & Williams, ‘Utilitarianism: For and Against’, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, retrieved from http://py111.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/jim-and-the-indians/ accessed 10/4/2012
I examine the claim that Utilitarianism treats actions as just in cases where common sense holds that they are unjust. For this purpose, I described the guiding lines of the doctrine as John Stuart Mill defined them and presented the objection against it. I show that Utilitarians might refute the objection by proving that common sense morality itself allows the increase of evil. Utilitarianism is a moral doctrine that sees ‘utility’ in benefit, which is described as ‘pleasure’. It is based upon “the greater happiness” principle, according to which the best action is the one that maximizes happiness.
His principle explained that a good action is on that brought pleasure while one that caused pain was evil. Bentham goes ahead to differentiate virtue and pleasure and their relation to utilitarianism. He explains that a virtuous person is on who stands for moral values and safeguards the happiness of those around him, qualities that are closely related to utilitarianism as they bring about pleasure (Driver 1). They also argue that the purpose of an action is independent from the morality of the action. These arguments give us the perception that Utilitarianism is different from other moral aspects.
In his book Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill offers a defining of utility as pleasure or the absence of pain in addition to the Utility Principle, where “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (Mill 7). Through this principle, Mill emphasizes that it is not enough to show that happiness is an end in itself. Mill’s hedonistic view is one in support of the claim that every human action is motivated by or ought to be motivated by the pursuit of pleasure. Suppose one was to record their pleasures down on paper using a graph. At first, one might be confused as to how to go about quantifying their happiness.
Explain why Mill distinguishes between higher and lower pleasures and assess whether he achieves his aim or not. 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?’. In the first chapter, General Remarks, Mill points out that, even after 2000 years, this fundamental question remains controversial. In his opinion, neither the idea of a natural moral faculty nor the idea of intuitionism can help to solve the problem.
Current utilitarianism was created by mixing Jeremy Bentham’s account for utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill’s account for utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham’s account for utilitarianism focused on pleasure. He defined utilitarianism by recognizing the fundamental role of pain and pleasure, approving or disproving the actions based on the amount of pain or pleasure brought on by the consequences, equating good with pleasure and evil with pain, and in return measuring whether pleasure exceeded pain. This means that Bentham’s utilitarianism takes an event and determines whether or not it should occur based on the pleasure or pain that it will bring. His idea is to maximize the pleasure and minimize the pain that is brought upon by choosing an event.
To best define consequentialism the famous English philosopher G.E. Moore declared in his book Principia Ethics that “Acts are morally right just because they maximize the amount of goodness in the world.” Moore believed that if you failed to accept the idea that it was right to maximize good, you did not know what you were talking about (297). What is unique about consequentialism is that it asks us to act in a way where the greatest benefit is made for the greatest number of people. Consequentialism asks us to look at the consequences of our actions. If the result will produce the most good, then the end justifies the means.