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.
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 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.
At some point his idea makes sense. To live in a strict utilitarian society you would need someone to decide what the greater good would be for all. I would to some extent agree with him on that point. But the truth is we don't live in a utilitarian society. “A good will is not a good because what of effects or accomplishes because of its fitness to attain some proposed end but only because of its violati... ... middle of paper ... ...ately lights upon what is in fact in common interests and in conformity with duty and hence honorable, deserves praise and encouragement but not esteem; for the maxim lacks moral content, namely that of doing such actions not from inclination.” (Page, 11, Kant) Second, possessing and maintaining one's moral goodness is the very condition under which anything else is worth having or pursuing.
Virtue ethics focuses on how to be; studies what makes the character traits of people. A person who has these traits will act by habit in certain ways not because of its consequences but because it is what a virtuous person would do. According to (Moore & Parker, 2009, p. 441) Utilitarianism is the view that says “if an act will produce more happiness than will alternatives, it is the right thing to do, and if it will produce less happiness, it would be wrong to do it in place of an alternative that would produce more happiness”. Virtue theory and utilitarian theory are two of the principal ethical theories. Though each theory deserves the general respect they have gathered, both are under constant attack from objection and scrutiny.
Utilitarianism is based on the right being that which has a good or pleasant outcome, and immoral being an action with a bad outcome. Utilitarianism also maintains that we should act to maximize the happiness of everyone. Some philosophers see this principle as a strict requirement Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher came up with principles to utility. He was the first to propel the idea that an action should be judged by the amount of pleasure or pain it caused. His principle explained that a good action is on that brought pleasure while one that caused pain was evil.
Mill explains happiness as pleasure lacking pain and that pleasure can differ in levels of quality and quantity. Many people misinterpret utilitarianism by interpreting utility in confliction with pleasure but in reality, utility is described as pleasure itself lacking pain. Another label for utility is the Greatest Happiness Principle. This opinion embraces 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.” Meaning that, deeds are perceived to be good after they lead to a larger happiness and bad after it cuts down happiness.
I will argue that Epicurus’s version of happiness is false and Nozick’s Happiness helps show that. Epicurus’s version of happiness is the lack of pain and the meeting the basic needs. Epicurus also believes in having pleasurable things in life. Nozick’s shows how happiness is more than just pleasure or pain. He also shows how happiness is not the only important thing in life.
When talking about pleasure there needs to be a distinction between the quality and the quantity. While having many different kinds of pleasures can be considered a good thing, one is more likely to favor quality over quantity. With this distinction in mind, one is more able to quantify their pleasures as higher or lesser pleasures by ascertaining the quality of them. This facilitates the ability to achieve the fundamental moral value that is happiness. 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).
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.