The Greatest Happiness Principle Analysis

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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…show more content…
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. Along with the criticism of Utilitarianism and the principle of utility being selfish, many argue that such a doctrine promotes expediency in order to benefit the person conducting the action alone. I would disagree with these criticisms, and find Mill’s argument valid. His argument counters…show more content…
This principle promotes a life of more pleasure than pain by choosing actions that produce more happiness. These are conscious actions made that follow a life of utility and act in accordance with the “Greatest Happiness Principle.” Though Mill’s critics would argue that Utilitarianism is not a reasonable foundation for morality by not fulfilling a life of happiness, creating selfish or expedient people, and reducing human experience to animals, I would have to disagree. This principle promotes happiness and pleasure for all, along with aiding individuals to be less selfish, and an even slate for people of all characters. I find the “Greatest Happiness Principle” to be a relevant and altruistic foundation of morality. There is an emphasis on lives containing more pleasure than pain under the rule that one person cannot put their own happiness above others. I think a type of morality such as this would be more successful than other forms of morality because it wants every human life to be a life filled with more pleasure than pain. I see this as an appropriate foundation because it promotes good over bad, which is ultimately the function of morality as a whole. As written by Raymond Plant, “Since the principle of the individual is to try to satisfy his desires…the principle of society should be to try to advance the satisfactions of those who belong to the society…”
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