Utilitarianism is a moral belief that if a deed taken creates more good than bad for all than that deed should be taken. It is the calculation of the end result of whether your decision will lead to a good cause or not. If the deed brings happiness to all, than you are doing the right thing. John Stuart Mill, acknowledged for this theory, explains that utilitarianism theory is based on the following, “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness”. Mill explains happiness as pleasure lacking pain and that pleasure can differ in levels of quality and quantity.
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.
Qualitative hedonists believe that there can be different levels of pleasure, meaning that some will be better than others. John Stuart Mill would be considered as a qualitative hedonist, which makes up part of his theory of Utilitarianism. In order to determine what is happiness, Mill establishes his Greatest Happiness Principle, which introduces the adoption of Hedonism. Mill’s argument for qualitative distinction of pleasures is inconsistent and problematic for hedonism, which brings about more problems than it solves for Utilitarianism. Mill begins his essay on Utilitarianism by explaining his Greatest Happiness Principle, stating actions are right in that they promote happiness and actions are wrong if they take happiness away (Mill, “What Utilitarianism Is,” para 2).
Hedonistic Utilitarianism recognizes the intrinsic value of pain and pleasure; the fundamental goal of this moral theory would be to maximize pleasure while minimizing pain by any means. The motivation of the theory follows two views; is an action that leads to pleasure or avoids pain is positive, however if an action leads to pain and prevents pleasure is negative. John Stuart Mill believed that actions could determine the moral justification depending on the measure of the increased pleasure and pain decreased. Mills believed that some pleasure were higher than others, “It is better to be a human... ... middle of paper ... ...ot established, only the experience of accomplishment, “the machine gives you the precise set of experiences you would get from having those sorts of lives” (Sober 414). The experience machine presents a valid argument against Hedonistic Utilitarianism, because for many people pleasure is not the only intrinsic value in life; meaningful experiences, individuality, and accomplishments are valuable characteristics, which are essentially lost in the experience machine.
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.
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.
So basically we seek certain pleasures in times of discomfort or pain to remove that, so when we attain the pleasure that will remove our pain and discomfort, that is when we have achieved a happy life. By saying it is the goal, he means that ... ... middle of paper ... ...that it is the goal or aim of life, as I feel he does not cover things that may be more important than just pleasure and virtues. I agree in terms of the fact that he thinks not every pleasure may be desirable, I believe that there are many good things in the world but all of them may not cater to our needs or provide us with satisfaction. I also agree in some places that yes we need to be good people to live a pleasant life, and in the end being a bad person with no virtues or values will result in punishment or some sort of bad consequences. Other than that his views are strong and do make sense but I would not agree with his entire philosophy and certainly not his definition of the good life.
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.
Because if it were false eating food would not turn into something that is pleasurable or intrinsically negative. Food would only have a positive value to our bodies, no matter how good or bad it is. This example proves that value hedonism is real. I believe that the things that we consider valuable to us can potentially turn into wants, and that is when those values become pleasurable. I feel that value hedonism can never be false, because there is at least one thing that we value that we consider pleasurable making us not perfect value
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.