Nobody downloaded yet

John Mill's Utilitarianism - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Mill said, "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness." Outline the view here; assess in detail one objection to this view
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was the son of James Mill, British historian and scholar, and the godson of Jeremy Bentham…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER98.8% of users find it useful
John Mills Utilitarianism
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "John Mill's Utilitarianism"

Download file to see previous pages Therefore, Utilitarianism is consequentialism - the morality of an action depended on its outcome, and on nothing else. Utility is happiness or pleasure, and suffering is disutility. Elements of the doctrine of Utilitarianism can be traced back to the Greek philosopher, Epicurus, although Jeremy Bentham is generally credited as the original propounder of this doctrine. "Nature", said Bentham, "has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think..." (Bentham, 1789, Ch I, p 1)
Whatever brought the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people was good, according to Bentham. And this was the starting point for John Mill, in his Utilitarianism. First, let us look at the theory as expounded by Mill, and then follow it up by an examination of its validity.
Mill stated that "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. ...
Mill clarifies what he, and other Utilitarians before him, means by the terms 'Utilitarian', 'pleasure' and 'pain'. Pleasure does not mean pleasure only in its "grossest form" (Mill Ch 2). He anticipates the criticism that his theory is likely to attract, stating that people may not agree that humans are only interested in the pursuit of pleasure, and are therefore no better than swine. He shrugs off criticism by stating that a misrepresentation of the meaning of the word 'pleasure' is due to the common assumption that humans are capable of wanting no higher pleasures than those sought by swine, and not due to an erroneous definition of the word by the Utilitarians. He acknowledges the fact that Epicurus, in his time had faced the same criticism, which the current advocates of Utilitarianism face.
Apart from quantity, utility or pleasure differed in quality as well. Some pleasures were of a higher or more refined nature like the "pleasures of the intellect, of the feelings and imagination, and of the moral sentiments." (Mill, Ch 2). How does one distinguish a more valuable pleasure from a less valuable one This is done by the simple expedient of checking with people. If a greater number of persons rate one type of pleasure at a higher level than another type of pleasure, then the former pleasure is qualitatively better than the latter. Mill argues that a human being, because of his powers of discrimination desires pleasures of a different kind than animals, and is therefore not easily satisfied. By his very nature he may be susceptible to more suffering than animals. However, no human being, would like to give up his human form to become animal, so that he is assured of greater pleasure - of the animal variety. This in itself speaks of a human ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“John Mill's Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 words”, n.d.)
John Mill's Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 words. Retrieved from
(John Mill'S Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 Words)
John Mill'S Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 Words.
“John Mill'S Utilitarianism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF John Mill's Utilitarianism

Does John Stuart Mill succeed in reconciling the concept of justice with utilitarianism

...?John Stuart Mill’s Concept of Justice with Utilitarianism Introduction: According to John Rawls justice “is the first virtue of social s,as truth is of systems of thought” (Rawls, 1999, p.3) The theory of justice refutes to the fact that the loss of liberty for some is adjusted by superior good happening to others. It does not accept that the “sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many” (Rawls, 1999, p.3). Thus a society that supports justice claims for equal liberty for all its citizens. As the concept of utilitarianism explains, the “Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle” believes...
10 Pages(2500 words)Essay

John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism and Pleasure

...? John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism and Pleasure Table of Contents Table of Contents Introduction Utilitarianism: Pleasure & Morality 2 Utilitarianism: A “doctrine worthy only of swine” 3 The Experience of Pleasure in Morality and Ideals 5 Sources Cited 7 Introduction Utilitarianism is often summarized as “the greatest good for the greatest number” being used to calculate the moral correctness of an action, decision, or policy for both individuals and society on a common standard. Utilitarianism ideally judges actions based upon their outcome in producing the greatest happiness or pleasure for the greatest number of...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

John Stuart Mill

... Task: John Stuart Mill In any civilized society, there are basic parameters that guide its citizenry in their daily duties. Similarly, these duties are guided by the need to achieve certain objectives and goals of life, such as proper education and good health. However, in order for these rules and regulations to be obeyed, there must be an autonomous government that ensures people follow the rule without using any favor in its administration (Bowie and Simon 56). Therefore, this essay is going to support the crucial role played by society in ensuring citizens enjoy their liberties, freedoms and happiness, as advocated by Mill in his two books On Liberty and Utilitarianism. Furthermore, the paper takes note on case studies... on Bentham's...
10 Pages(2500 words)Essay

General overview of john stuart mill- Utilitarianism

... of Lecturer 27 April General overview of John Stuart Mill- Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher that argued extensively on the ethics of Utilitarianism. The ethics of Utilitarianism was actually developed by Mill and it is based on the doctrine of good things and the outcome that results from the ethical value of conduct. Mill proposed that the main aim of taking moral decisions is to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number. According to Mill, this objective is considered a legislative duty for all social institutions. Mill’s Utilitarian theory also posits that the conscience is not in any way the sole authority of the decision to do what is either right or wrong. Mill’s Utilitarianism actually... of the...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

...?DRAFT COPY How does Mill reformulate Bentham’s theory of Utilitarianism? Does he offer a better version of Utilitarianism? Why or why not? Does Millsurmount some of the common objections raised against Utilitarianism? Using Saving Private Ryan, Runaway Jury or Extreme Measures, explore how Utilitarianism can operate. Do you tend to agree or disagree with Utilitarianism? Defend your response. Utilitarianism Mill and Bentham Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) are the two historical figures most closely associated with the philosophy of...
9 Pages(2250 words)Essay

John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism

...?John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873) was one of the most influential liberal thinkers of the 19th century. He was an advocate of utilitarianism, which states that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" ("The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy"). Referring to it as the principle of utility, Mill believes that the highest normative principle is that actions are moral as they tend to promote happiness and immoral as they tend to produce sadness or dissatisfaction. Although Mill was a...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

John Stuart Mill

...John Stuart Mill Liberty has always been an issue discussed by many, especially and philosophers. They studied this problem taking into consideration the pair of liberty , which is the constraint. This is a philosophical idea , that all the concepts are doubled by their opposite. The constraint may be physiological, moral, social , religious and in all the cases it limits the human being. John Stuart Mill discussed this problem, of liberty-constraint in his essay: "On liberty". But the interest for this concept has appeared since childhood. John Stuart Mill was educated by his father, James Mill, who was cold and...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

John Stuart Mill

... John Stuart Mill According to Chapter 5 of the Proper Functions of Representative Bodies, John Stuart Mill elaborately explains the meaning of a representative government whereby the people have the absolute power to exercise through their elected deputies the ultimate controlling power. These deputies are elected by the people themselves. Additionally, these elected deputies exercise their duties as the masters of all government operations. The Constitution is the supreme law that ensures that there is a balance between all the functions of the government. The Constitution neutralizes all the powers of the other arms of the government. This is effectively done in order to have harmonized functions since they would all crash... the...
2 Pages(500 words)Book Report/Review

Mill's Utilitarianism

...Mill’s Utilitarianism It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that one of the characteristic features of the humansociety lies in the fact that actions of the people who belong to it are often viewed through the prism of Ethics. John Stuart Mill was one of the philosophers who contributed an ethical theory titled Utilitarianism, explaining what actions should be considered to be right. This paper will analyze in details one of its quotes about justice. To begin with, one should not that Mill pays particular attention to the above mentioned notion since it, according to him, it is often seen as the greatest obstacle on the way of...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism

...John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism Mills observes many individuals misunderstanding utilitarianism by viewing utility as opposition to pleasure. It is evident that utility may be referred to as the remarkable happiness principle. One of the misconceptions about Unitarianism comes from the misunderstanding of happiness and contentment. Individuals who employ higher faculties often get less contented even though their pleasure is of higher character than of an animal. This paper is a discussion of the mills statement that “it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied” in a clear and outright way in regards to my view. Mills view on this statement is on the quality of happiness... , the...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic John Mill's Utilitarianism for FREE!

Contact Us