Morality as a whole tries to create a distinction between right and wrong, good and bad. Making decisions should arguably always be aimed towards good. Under the philosophical doctrine of Utilitarianism, philosophers like Bentham and Mill recognize that human kind should make their lives useful and good through bringing about happiness or pleasure. The idea of the “Greatest Happiness Principle was introduced by Bentham, who was a Utilitarian predecessor to Mill. According to Mill, human lives should abide by the “Greatest Happiness Principle.” This principle states that actions are good as they tend to promote happiness; and bad as they promote the reverse of happiness, therefore humans should make a conscious choice of action that will lead
Since “all action is for the sake of some end”, actions and their consequences are inseparable. The doctrine holds that the consequences of actions outweigh in significance the nature of the actions. Therefore, no action is considered wrong according to Utilitarianism as long as it maximizes happiness, even if the action is morally wrong in its nature. The doctrine appears to encourage actions that contradict common sense morality, the body of moral rules accepted by society. This impression raises an objection to Utilitarianism saying it promotes unjust, evil actions.
What I have found to be most interesting about both Deontology and Utilitarianism isn’t their approach to ethics, but rather their end goal. Deontology promotes “good will” as the ultimate good; it claims that each and every person has duties to respect others. On the other hand, Utilitarianism seeks to maximize general happiness. While these may sound rather similar at first glance (both ethical theories essentially center around treating people better), a deeper look reveals different motivations entirely. Deontology focuses on respecting the autonomy and humanity of others, basically preaching equal opportunity.
In his book he states, “The Greatest Happiness Principle 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” (Mill). Although this passage is pretty straightforward I will explain it in simpler terms in order to better understand it. Basically, what Mill is proposing is that according to a Utilitarian, actions are unjustifiably right if they produce happiness, or pleasure, and have an absence of pain. This is a key point into looking at the connection of utilitarianism and the liberty principle.
The philosophical theories of Utilitarian and Kantian Ethics propose opposing theories on the moral worth of an action. Early utilitarians’ proposed that human beings seek pleasure and that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and since they seek pleasure, they also made a claim that humans tend to avoid pain. Therefore as humans, we tend to follow through on the actions that maximize pleasure; this theory had been simplified into the idea that actions should bring about “the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number”. Regardless of the circumstances there will always be an action that brings about the most happiness and this measure of happiness should be the guide for our actions. This theory states that the only action considered, is the one that yields the most beneficial consequences.
Virtue presents humans with identification for morals, and for Aristotle, we choose to have “right” morals. Aristotle defines humans by nature to be dishonored when making a wrong decision. Thus, if one choses to act upon pleasure, like John Stuart Mill states, for happiness, one may choose the wrong means of doing so. Happiness is a choice made rationally among many pickings to reach this state of mind. Happiness should not be a way to “win” in the end but a way to develop a well-behaved, principled reputation.
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.
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.
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.” In his words he defines happiness as a state of pleasure without pain. Mill rebuttals that the pain caused to one can differ in quality and quantity, and that pleasures aren’t always the same, meaning one’s higher pleasure might be someone’s lower pleasure. Meaning he makes it clear that often times ones goals and ends results conclude to someone’s happiness. Mill also states the Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism. An action could be morally wrong or morally right, depending on what action brings out the best outcome out of the... ... middle of paper ... ...s theory, often called hedonism.
This argument not only counters Bentham’s form of utilitarianism, hedonistic act utilitarianism, but also rule utilitarianism, which holds that an action is right if it follows a rule that generally promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number, and preference utilitarianism, which holds an action is right if it maximises the satisfaction of preferences.Utilitarianism is an impartial theory, so each person affected is to count for one and no more than one, so when deciding how to act we should not value one person’s pains or pleasures above another 's. However, surely when we act we take into account our relationship with the person and our own pleasure, not the pleasure of the greatest number. For example when choosing whether to save our younger sibling or a future Nobel prize winner from a burning building, we will ultimately choose to save the sibling. Surely this is not an intrinsically bad choice to save the siblings life over a Nobel prize winner? In this sense, utilitarianism is counter-intuitive.