Essay on The Greatest Happiness Principle

Essay on The Greatest Happiness Principle

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In this paper I will present and critically assess the concept of the principle of utility as given by John Stuart Mill. In the essay “What Utilitarianism Is” #, Mill presents the theory of Utilitarianism, which he summarizes in his “utility” or “greatest happiness principle” # (Mill 89). Mill’s focus is based on an action’s resulting “happiness,” # pleasure and absences of pain, or “unhappiness,” # discomfort and the nonexistence of contentment, rather than the intentions involved (Mill 89). After evaluating Mill’s principle, I will then end this essay by discussing my personal opinion about the doctrine and how I believe it can be altered to better suit real-life situations.
The principle of utility is based on the greatest amount of happiness an action results in to the largest quantity of people who are affected by the consequences (Mill 89). Mill believes people should sacrifice as much as they can from their own possible happiness so that more people may obtain equal happiness that is sufficient. In doing so, those who are aiding others are creating a society of ultimate happiness where everyone is content. Thus, Mill argues for quantity over quality to the extent where everyone has just enough contentment that they do not feel pain or deprivation. For example, according to the principle, if in the future there is an unbiased computerized system for selecting organ donors, those who are selected to donate their organs to two or more people are obligated to do so. In doing so, the single individual is saving the lives of a greater number of people, and thus creates more happiness than if he alone lived and the two or more people died.
In discussing if people would be motivated to relinquish their own prosperity to aid o...


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...ins more faults than he mentioned. I do agree to the principle of utility relative to maximizing happiness for the most amount of people possible. However, in regards to my example about the computerized system that sacrifices a healthy person to save the lives of other’s, the use of the principle would be morally and ethically wrong. Although people have the choice to become organ donors, in the example, the computer would be killing someone instead of using an already deceased person’s organs to save another’s life. This issue is an example of the differences between Kant and Mill, which I believe if combined can make Mill‘s theory better suited for real-life situations. Intentions are not always the most significant factors similarly to how results are not. Therefore, combining certain aspects of Kant’s theory with Mill’s would make Mill’s work more appropriate.

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