Essay on Mill's Utilitarianism

Essay on Mill's Utilitarianism

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Mill’s Utilitarianism


Utilitarianism is a consequentialist moral theory, meaning the morality of our actions is judged according to the consequences they bring about. According to utilitarianisms, all our actions should promote happiness. For Mill, happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain. In this paper, I will discuss the objection to Utilitarianism that is only fit for a swine, and Mill’s responses to that objection. Those people who reject this moral theory will say utilitarianism does not grant human life enough value compared to that of a pig. Mill gives an effective response and states that humans can and are the only ones that experiences higher pleasures and qualities of life, which make a human's life better than a pig's life.
The main principle of utilitarianism is the greatest happiness principle. It states 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, 1863, Ch. 2, p330). In other words, it results with the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people that are involved.
Mill takes on the claim that utilitarianism is fit for a swine. “…life has no higher end than pleasure - no better and nobler object of desire and pursuit... as a doctrine worthy only of swine... (however) Human beings have faculties more elevated than the animal appetites” (Mill, 1863, Ch. 2, p331). This objection identifies the flaws in Mill’s moral theory. It mentions that humans have higher capacities and more special moral values than just pleasure that we must recognize and take into account that utilitari...


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...ry. Some may reject it and have the objection that utilitarianism does not provide an effective way of life. Those who object may say that this moral theory is not good or specific enough, lacks a mention of full human potential and capabilities, and fails to address the special moral values of humans. Mill provides an effective response to those who doubt utilitarianism, and states that there is only one end (happiness) that humans aim for and that humans and humans alone are the only ones who can judge and experience all pleasures and qualities of life.


Works Cited
Cahn, Steven M., and Peter J. Markie. "John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism; Chapter 2: What Utilitarianism Is." 2009. Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues. 4th ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 330-41. Print.



***Note: Quote citations are based off 4th edition pages.




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