Utilitarianism And John Stuart Mill Hofstra University; Philosophy 14 Essay

656 words - 3 pages

Nora Darragh
Originally established by Jeremy Bentham, the functional belief of Benthamism was well altered by his successor John Stuart Mill, who popularized it as Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism and its main concept is that whether actions are morally right or the opposite.
Mill’s doctrine of utility explains that in order to obtain happiness, there must be a pursuit in gaining happiness and the process of gaining pleasure. This is known as the Right Action Theory which further states that people are motivated by an interest in what they have to gain from their actions. John Stuart Mill then goes on to believe that there are different measures and different kinds of pleasures. Some pleasures are more superior to others and it differentiates the amount of happiness that they can bring to each individual. He mentions “of two pleasures, if there be one to which all or almost all who have experience or both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure” (John Stuart Mill, page 206). Mill measures the differences of pleasure based on the hedonist measurement which is a qualitative way compared to a quantitative way.
To him, higher pleasures are ones of thought, feeling, and imagination while lower ones are ones of the body and the senses. “They pursue sensual indulgences to the injury of health, though perfectly aware that health is a greater good” (John Stuart Mill, page 208). Mill feels that since people are more exposed to pleasures of the body and if it’s more easily accessible, they won’t have any better option besides accepting it. A main point in utilitarianism is that people should act in ways that they would like to be treated. The Greatest Happiness Principle explains that when confronted with a choice, you should choose the option which will produce the greatest balance of happiness...

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