Essay about Utilitarianism By John Stuart Mill

Essay about Utilitarianism By John Stuart Mill

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Along with other noted philosophers, John Stuart Mill developed the nineteenth century philosophy known as Utilitarianism - the contention that man should judge everything in life based upon its ability to promote the greatest individual happiness. While Bentham is acknowledged as the philosophy’s founder, it was Mill who justified the axiom through reason. He maintained that because human beings are endowed with the ability for conscious thought, they are not merely satisfied with physical pleasures; humans strive to achieve pleasures of the mind as well. Once man has ascended to this high intellectual level, he desires to stay there, never descending to the lower level of existence from which he began. In Chapter 2 of Utilitarianism, Mill contends that “pleasure, and freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends” (Mill, 7). Before addressing his argument, Mill defines the topic, “The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, ‘Utility’, or the ‘Greatest Happiness Principle’, holds 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, 7). Like a true philosopher, Mill proposes objections to the utilitarian principle, which he then attempts to refute. Pleasure, per Mill, has rather arrogantly been regarded as being little more than attempting to keep a pig satisfied. Because man has the intellectual capacity for reason, he should aspire for something more. Mill argues that is exactly what man does. He does not merely attempt to seek momentary pleasure, but in utilitarianism, has the option to choose that which provides hi...


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...o ascertain that pleasure and freedom from pain are desirable, Mill employed the process of elimination. He established, “happiness is a good: that each person 's happiness is a good to that person, and the general happiness, therefore, a good to the aggregate of all persons” (Mill 29). He then concluded that, “No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable, desires his own happiness. 
This, however, being a fact, we have not only all the proof which the case admits of, but all which it is possible to require that happiness is a good” (Mill 27). Simply, the normal rules concerning one’s desire for happiness do not apply. Happiness may mean different things to different people but as long as the quest of these desires do not inflict pain on others, this is an acceptable means to an end.

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Essay about Utilitarianism By John Stuart Mill

- Along with other noted philosophers, John Stuart Mill developed the nineteenth century philosophy known as Utilitarianism - the contention that man should judge everything in life based upon its ability to promote the greatest individual happiness. While Bentham is acknowledged as the philosophy’s founder, it was Mill who justified the axiom through reason. He maintained that because human beings are endowed with the ability for conscious thought, they are not merely satisfied with physical pleasures; humans strive to achieve pleasures of the mind as well....   [tags: Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill, Pleasure]

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