Compare And Contrast John Stuart Mill's View Of Happiness

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If one hundred people, were asked what does it mean to live the good life, no two responses would be exactly the same. Even though everyone’s response would be different, many of the responses would most likely include being happy. Similarly to how people’s responses would differ if asked the original question, everyone would have their own definition of what happiness means to them because certain words mean different things to different people. Many of the authors that were covered in class talked about happiness and its relation to the good life. The authors that gave the most insight into their view of happiness were Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. Although these three authors had some similarities in their definitions of …show more content…
In regard to ideas about happiness, Mill introduces a concept he came up with which he calls the Greatest Happiness Principle. Of his principle, Mill says, “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness,” (Utilitarianism, pg. 229). This principle obviously aligns with his utilitarian beliefs because he would suggest using to gauge how people feel about certain actions and if the largest number of people were not happy about these actions then they would have to be undone for not following the premise of utilitarianism. In his book, Mill speaks of many clarifications and objections to his own principle as a way to disregard critics of utilitarianism. Because he is utilitarian, one of the most important clarifications of his idea of happiness that he offers is that it does not matter if one person is unhappy. What matters the most to Mill is that a greater number of are collectively happy. Therefore, the unhappy person would have to sacrifice their own happiness so everyone else can achieve it. Mill also believes that there is no such thing as true happiness because happiness cannot be achieved without a little pain. However, one of the most important parts of his book is when he advocates for expediency. This part of …show more content…
All three writers seem to agree that it is a person’s job to choose their own happiness. For Aristotle, this means acting with virtue to bring about true happiness and Kant would say that people choose to be happy by following our moral duty. Mill would support this claim with his idea that happiness can be broken down into separate categories, which he refers to as higher and lower pleasures. From there, Mill believes people choose which type of pleasures people would like to associate themselves with in order to achieve happiness. Another point multiple authors would agree would be that true happiness can only come from doing good. This claim would be supported by Aristotle’s view of the virtues and Kant’s view of moral duty. Mill, on the other hand, would not support this claim because he advocates expediency. After reviewing all three authors’ ideas of the concept of happiness that I believe is the strongest and most insightful is that of Aristotle. For me, Aristotle’s idea that happiness stems from acting virtuously really resonated and I felt that this argument was stronger than any of the other points made by Kant or Mill. Being raised Catholic, I’ve always been taught to act virtuously and to employ the cardinal virtues in my own life. From my own experience, I’ve found I am the happiest when I am acting virtuously and helping

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