preview

Marx And Mills

Better Essays
Marx And Mills

John Stuart Mill suggests that a person’s ethical decision-making process should be based solely upon the amount of happiness that the person can receive. Although Mill fully justifies himself, his approach lacks certain criteria for which happiness can be considered. Happiness should be judged, not only by pleasure, but by pain as well. This paper will examine Mill’s position on happiness, and the reasoning behind it. Showing where there are agreements and where there are disagreements will critique the theory of Utilitarianism. By showing the problems that the theory have will reveal what should make up ethical decision-making. John Stuart Mill supports and explains his reasoning in his book, Utilitarianism. Mill illustrates the guidelines of his theory. Mill defines utilitarianism as the quest for happiness. His main point is that one should guide his or her judgements by what will give pleasure. Mill believes that a person should always seek to gain pleasure and reject pain. Utilitarianism also states that the actions of a person should be based upon the “greatest happiness principle”. This principle states that ethical actions command the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Mill further explores the need for pleasure by noting “a being of higher faculties requires more to make him happy.” . He acknowledges that some pleasures are more alluring than others are. He adds to this by making known that when placing value in things to calculate pleasure, not only quantity important but quality as well. Mill’s criteria for happiness is easily understood, some statements that he gives are questionable. John Stuart Mill plainly laid out what he believes that the basis for ethical decision-making. First, the pursuit of pleasure is directly related to happiness. This idea can be easily accepted. It is natural for a person to focus his goals on things that will bring him pleasure. It would be absurd if someone’s goal in life was to be poor and starving. This being said, it does not mean that people are only happy due wealth but that no one’s goals are focused on poverty. Although there are many issues that can be agreeable with Mill, there are problems that exist with his theory of utilitarianism.

First, Mill says that all ethical decisions should be based on pleasure. This statement becomes questionable when Mill...

... middle of paper ...

...o are polar opposites. This statement holds true no matter what one believes. To find happiness, the opposing sides must find a suitable balance.

This does not mean that pain is always a daily part of life, but that it can not and should not be avoided. If one were to try to avoid pain, it is quite possible that they would inadvertently pass up pleasure. This would happen because a person would be too worried to take a chance on failing. Pain is a part of life just as pleasure is. To reap the benefits of one, there must be consequences given to the other. There is a quote that goes, “You must drink from the chalice of pain, before you can sip from the elixir of self-respect” Another criteria for happiness and morality should be based upon attentions. If one performs a moral action, but has immoral intentions, that person should not be considered ethically correct. To be truly right and happy, one must not only act but think right. Mill suggests that pleasure should guide our decision-making. While the statement is true, it is not fully correct. If a person will deal with pain that come from hard work, dedication, and perseverance, then the benefits will be that much sweeter.
Get Access