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Hapiness And Utilitarianism In Mill´S Essay

689 words - 3 pages

In Mill’s essay on utilitarianism, Mill observes that a great amount of people misunderstand utilitarianism by having utility and pleasure together in the same idea and concept. In fact, Mill says utility is described as a pleasure and an absence of pain. Mill observes the relation to utilities and happiness and decides that utility could be seen as the Greatest Happiness Principle. This 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." Pleasure and the absence of pain are the only things that people wish to gain and keep. Therefore, events and situations are only desirable if they are a source for pleasures it is a source for happiness; these actions towards events are only good when they lead towards a higher level of happiness, and bad when they decrease that level. ...view middle of the document...

Mill distinguishes the differences between higher and lower quality pleasures. A pleasure of higher quality is once where a person would choose this path over another pleasurable path even if this one provides some discomfort. Mill argues that it is unarguable that if given access to all kinds of pleasures, people would rather choose the pleasures that appeal to their "higher" faculties. For example, a person will not choose to become an animal, and an educated person will choose to not be ignorant, and so on. Although people approach pleasures that appeal to their higher facilities, and although sometimes these high pleasures come with a sort of discomfort, people will not trade this higher pleasure with a lower one. There are certain implications that governments will look at when trying to make choices in regard to social welfare programs and infrastructure improvements. These governments want to make sure that a majority of the people are being benefited and there isn't a minority that is only being benefited by the decision, i.e. if the government wants to expand a highway and they want to tax the city to make this improvement, they will figure out if more people will be benefited from the than people being not benefited from this. If the choice of the government brings more pleasure and less unhappiness to the general population, then this increases the popularity of the choice within the government. With all this utilitarian thinking, there are certain strengths and weaknesses that come with this type of thinking. Morally, utilitarianism is the best way to think when looking whether or not something is beneficial to a persons moral being, i.e. if your friend was dying in your car, you would run a stop sign to get him to the hospital in time so that he could be healed and cured. Another strength is that utilitarianism focuses on keeping the majority of the population happy, which in return will show a good economy. Weaknesses of utilitarianism is that sometimes the sake of something being moral or not can lead to breaking a law, as with what I stated with the example of you running a stop sign. Although you can save your friends’ life, it is illegal to run that stop sign. Also, if one was to base everything off of utilitarianism, selfishness could sneak into some decisions regarding that persons pleasure.

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