Mill's Utilitarianism Essay

1336 words - 6 pages

Jeremy Bentham is often referred as the pioneer of the utilitarianism because he came up with the theory for the first time, and Stuart Mill is regarded as the father of utilitarianism because he materialized the theory of utilitarianism and established the greatest happiness principle. While Bentham’s utility had a quantitative and reductionistic approach, which describes that being hedonistic is always good and being in pain is always evil, Mill emphasized the qualitative difference, suggesting that the happiness of people must be the ultimate goal of utilitarianism. Aiming at the principle of the greatest happiness, utilitarians claim that a deed can be just when it is proportioned to a ...view middle of the document...

And if the fool or the pig thinks otherwise, that is because they know only their own side of the question.” (Mill, 7) Mill takes notice of the qualitative difference of comfort. Because of this dissimilarity, he asserted that a satisfied pig can never be compared to the discomforted Socrates. Hence, the adjudication of pleasure cannot be achieved solely by qualitative standard, but by an arbitrator who experience both pleasure of objects in comparison. This concept not only established the ethical standard of civil society, but also became the cornerstone of discipline of capitalism and of English classical economics.
To the contrary, many critics have been found through Mill’s theory of the greatest happiness. I’d like to list and discuss some contentious points of the principle. First of all, the Utilitarianism eliminates the rights of the minority. A few years ago, there was a huge issue about sending Korean troops overseas to Iraq, radically confronting the problems of utility and morality. Most of mass communications like the Net, newspaper, television, and radio, dealt with the problem of re-dispatching Korean troops to Iraq. People who strongly agree sending the troops claim that the United States would cooperate with Korea in the matter of the nuclear bomb in North Korea and also in the matter of economy, provided that we maintain a favorable relationship with them. In fact, the United States gave their word to Korea after Korea-the U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, that they would surely help Korea as a token of gratitude for sending the troops. What is more, the supporters of the dispatch persist that the cooperation would stabilize the economic structure of Korean society and induce foreign investors and stakeholders to bear financial benefits. The reason why this problem was so crucial is not because of a strained international situation, but it requires an internal value of our behavioral modality by considering either utility or morality and utility or obligation. Nevertheless, the troops cannot be sent overseas because the soldiers are ordinary people like others, given only a life for each one of them. Though there were a great number of opponents, the President and the government forcefully executed the dispatch for the ‘sake’ of the citizens with the greatest happiness, disregarding the anxieties and worries of the opponents. In fact, the principle of the greatest happiness had commercially exchanged the lives of the multitudes.
In addition, Michael Sandel, one of prominent professors in Harvard University, asked a question to his students in his lecture ‘Justice.’ Can all values be measured with one criterion? He talked about the school regulation of the Saint Ann’s College that no men can stay in the girls’ dormitory rooms. Elderly women professors took the regulations seriously and opposed to change the law. Being bashful, they expressed their thoughts through the language of utilitarianism and said that letting males...

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