This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Differences In John Stuart Mills And Jeremy Bentham's Versions Of Utilitarianism

2653 words - 11 pages

The Differences in John Stuart Mills and Jeremy Bentham's Versions of Utilitarianism

In what ways did John Stuart Mill's version of utilitarianism differ from that of Jeremy Bentham? Which do you consider preferable?

The Cambridge International Dictionary of English defines utilitarianism as "the system of thought which states that the best action or decision in a particular situation is the one which most benefits the most people". This is the main idea of the system of thought and it is from this the beliefs and opinions of John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832) and other early utilitarians were developed. Jeremy Bentham, a friend of J. S. Mill's father and the mentor of J. S. Mill, is usually considered the founder of British utilitarianism. J. S. Mill adapted Bentham's ideas and philosophies to meet the criticism utilitarianism encountered in Victorian times, expressing his version in the essays Utilitarianism (1861) and On Liberty (1859). Although the differences between the ideas of Bentham and Mill are very few, Mill's adjustments are important and greatly alter the basic foundations of the system.

To fully understand the origins of the ideas and opinions expressed by Mill and Bentham it is useful to examine their backgrounds and influences. John Stuart Mill was the eldest son of James Mill, a British historian, economist and philosopher. He was educated entirely by his father, who was a strict disciplinarian, and by the age of 10 had read all the Latin and Greek authors commonly read in the schools and universities of the time. His main reading, however, was history and by this age had read the whole works of the historian Herodotus, and was acquainted with the satirist Lucian, the historian of philosophy Diogenes Laërtius, the Athenian writer and educational theorist Isocrates, and six dialogues of Plato. While the training of the young Mill has aroused amazement and criticism, its most significant effect was the close association it encouraged with his father, James Mill. As a boy, he often spent much time in his father's study and regularly accompanied his father on his walks. Inevitably he acquired many of his father's opinions and his way of defending them. He did not, however, receive this information passively as the duty of collecting and weighing evidence was impressed on him at every turn from a young age. Mill accepted this strict form of education up until he was around the age of 20 when he went though a 'mental' crisis and became apathetic about utilitarianism. He continued to intellectually believe in the legitimacy of the ideas of utilitarianism but was no longer interested in promoting it. He believed that his father's method of education was too analytical and ignored the development of his emotional self. He spent time reading literature, particularly poetry, of the Romantic period to cultivate the emotions that had been neglected by his father's style of education. He became less of a...

Find Another Essay On The Differences in John Stuart Mills and Jeremy Bentham's Versions of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism and Morality in John Stuart Mill´s Essay

1190 words - 5 pages utility, which is also referred to as the “greatest happiness principle.” Mill makes it clear that utilitarianism has had great impact in shaping a moral basis of principles. From top to bottom, John Stuart Mill put forth an incredible essay depicting the various unknown complexities of morality. He has a remarkable understanding and appreciation of utilitarianism and throughout the essay the audience can grasp a clearer understanding of

John Stuart Mill and The Influence of Utilitarianism on Hard Times

1876 words - 8 pages principle and approves his method of madness, shall we say (Ward et all). The rise of Utilitarianism shaped many social reforms, behaviors, and ideas during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. English economists such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are the two names associated with this movement the most. Their view of utilitarianism revolves around the central phenomenon that if an action is right, it will produce pleasure and happiness

Utilitarianism, by John Stuart Mill

1368 words - 5 pages Explain why Mill distinguishes between higher and lower pleasures and assess whether he achieves his aim or not. In his essay, Utilitarianism Mill elaborates on Utilitarianism as a moral theory and responds to misconceptions about it. Utilitarianism, in Mill’s words, is the view that »actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.«1 In that way, Utilitarianism offers

Utilitarianism, by John Stuart Mill

2492 words - 10 pages In John Stuart Mill’s work Utilitarianism, Mill is trying to provide proof for his moral theory utilitarianism and disprove all the objections against it. Mill defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Ch. II, page 7). He calls this the “greatest happiness principle. Mill says, “No reason can be given

An Argument for the Legalization of Drugs. Based on John Stuart Mills' "Revised Harm Principle"'

1042 words - 4 pages choose to do so. This essay will address the issue from the standpoint of John Stuart Mills' 'Revised Harm Principle",' which asserts that people should be free to do what they want unless they threaten the vital interests (i.e., security or autonomy) of others.Using Mills' principle as a litmus test for this issue leads one to come down on the side of legalization. Since Mills is concerned not with individual rights, but with the consequences of

A Brief Analysis of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism

1019 words - 4 pages This work has probably received more analysis than any other work on utilitarianism available. However, I seek to do here what many others have been unable to accomplish so far. I hope to, in five paragraphs, cover each of the chapters of Utilitarianism in enough depth to allow any reader to decide whether or not they subscribe to Mill's doctrine, and if so, which part or parts they subscribe to. I do this with the realization that much of

John Stuart Mill's Selections From Utilitarianism

577 words - 2 pages John Stuart Mill, a very important philosopher in the 19th century, is one of the earliest advocates of Utilitarianism. In his essay, Selections From Utilitarianism, Mill defines what the theory is and provides his responses to common misconceptions people have against it. Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, states that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of

Paternalism in the USA and Johhn Stuart Mills

3050 words - 12 pages The idea of paternalism is based on the fact that not all people are rational all the time and sometimes states intervene into the lives of others for their own good. These paternalists advance people's interests such as life, health, and safety at the expense of their liberty. John Stuart Mills was a Utilitarian Philosopher and political writer that has been extremely influential to our society today. He is against most paternalistic action and

The Idea of Utilitarianism According to Jeremy Bentham

965 words - 4 pages Bentham and the more humane John Stuart Mill, who came a generation later. Mill, who wrote On Liberty, the classic defense for individual freedom, argued in it that the people should be free to do whatever they want – provided they do not harm others. This implies government should not intervene with individuals’ liberty, or impose upon them the majority’s belief about the best “way” to live. However, the notion of individual liberty and the

How successful was J.S. Mill in overcoming the problems associated with Bentham's Utilitarianism?

1120 words - 4 pages How successful was J.S. Mill in overcoming the problems associated with Bentham's Utilitarianism?"The greatest good for the greatest number" is a simple way to sum up a fairly simple idea. But despite its simplicity it still has lots of problems; in this essay I will be looking at how John Stuart Mill tries to overcome these problems.In 1789 utilitarianism was born, the brainchild of Jeremy Bentham. Bentham was a hedonist or someone who is

Conflicting Visions of Freedom in John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government

1525 words - 7 pages John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government are influential literary works while which outlining the theoretical framework of each thinkers optimal state propose two conflicting visions of the very essence of man and his freedom. Locke and Mill have completely different views when it comes to how much freedom man should have in political society because they have obtained different views about man’s potential

Similar Essays

Utilitarianism Is Usually Connected With The Specific Doctrines Of Jeremy Bentham And John Stuart Mill

1665 words - 7 pages Utilitarianism is usually connected with the specific doctrines of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, who both took the goodness of consequences to be measured by their effect on the happiness of human beings. Bentham was both the founder of utilitarianism and a contemporary of Mill's father, who ensured that his son received a strict utilitarian education based upon Bentham's theories . It is not surprising, then, that aspects of Mill's views

The Utilitarian Philosophies Of Jeremy Bentham And John Stuart Mill

2070 words - 8 pages Compare and contrast the utilitarian philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Which do you think is the more convincing moral theory, and why?In terms of Utilitarianism, this assignment shall outline the philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. It shall firstly illustrate the ideas of Bentham and then follow on to compare and contrast those of Mill. To continue, the assignment will view the failing qualities in both the

John Stuart Mill And Utilitarianism Essay

1586 words - 7 pages A major problem in society John Stuart Mill highlights is that there is not a set standard for judging what makes something right or wrong. Clearing these principles is one of the fundamental steps for consensus on moral thinking. Mill believes that what makes something right or wrong is based on whether it is thought of as “good”. However, this only further raises the question on what is considered good. Mill purposes the goodness as a

Jeremy Bentham And John Mill's Classical Utilitarianism

1398 words - 6 pages In this essay I will analyse Jeremy Bentham and John Mill’s Classical Utilitarianism theory. I will present the objection that the expected impartiality of a moral agent is impractical and therefore seriously undermines the theory itself. This essay will focus on this opposition in order to determine whether or not such a theory can be salvaged through a possible modification. Classical Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which promotes the