Utilitarianism Essay

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In this paper, I will define and explain Utilitarianism, then evaluate the proofs made to support it. In the nineteenth century, the philosophy of Utilitarianism was developed by John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism is the theory that man should judge everything in life based upon its ability to promote the greatest individual happiness. While Jeremy Bentham is acknowledged as the father of Utilitarianism, it was Mill who defended its structure through reason. He continually reasoned that because human beings are capable of achieving conscious thought, they are not simply satisfied by physical pleasures; humans desire to pleasure their minds as well. Once a person has achieved this high intellectual level, they do not want to descend to the lower level of intellect where they began. Mill explains that “pleasure, and…show more content…
Mill argues against this, saying it narrow-minded. He brings clarification to the pleasure principle which forms the foundation for utilitarianism, “what is right in conduct, is not the agent 's own happiness, but that of all concerned” (Cahn, Exploring Ethics, p117). However, this claim brings the argument that humans cannot possibly be motivated by something as satisfying the collective good of society. Mill refuted this, stating, “The utilitarian morality does recognize in human beings the power of sacrificing their own greatest good for the good of others” (Mill, Utilitarianism, Ch.2, 1863). This brought further objection, stating that pleasure is an acceptable end is against Christian principles because it is “godless,” Mill states, “If it be a true belief that God desires, above all things, the happiness of his creatures, and that this was his purpose in their creation, utility is not only not a godless doctrine, but more profoundly religious than any other” (Mill, Utilitarianism, Ch. 2,
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