John Scott Mill Utilitarianism Analysis

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John Scott Mill had several contributions that influenced British thought in the 19th century. My essay will focus on one of his writings, “Utilitarianism”, some of the views which Mill was defending against, and then I will compare the thoughts behind this writing and the opposing view of the time to thoughts and views of the modern era, as I see them. In chapter one, of Mills identifies the problem, that is, that there is no black-and-white definition of morality. That it is made only of general principle. He then identifies two schools of thought on the matter. One school of thought is made up of those who believe the principles of morals are evident a priori. That is, they justify their position on a matter morality independent of experience, …show more content…
The other school of ethics, Mill identifies as the inductive school of ethics. The inductive school of ethics build their reasoning of the principles of morals on experience and observation, deducing an opinion on the action after it has been committed. These two schools only differ on the matter of how they arrive to such their conclusions. They agree that it is case specific, they both agree that laws are necessary, that it is a science, and that principles must be use to deduce morals. Further, the problem is neither school of ethics make a list of principles upon which they can build this science, nor do they settle upon a singular principle, or several. Mill addresses this with the thought that, whether it one principle, or several principles, that must be then set in order of precedence with some self-evident method for deciding between principles when they conflict. Mill points out that principle of morality is an unofficial standard, which is based on the view of men as to what provides, or negates happiness, which is the principle of utility. Though, no school of will acknowledge the principle of utility as the fundamental principle of morality, neither will any school generally accept it as the …show more content…
It is what is right or wrong, as it relates to happiness. That is, it is right that promotes happiness, which is an increase of pleasure, and a reduction of pain. That which is wrong reduces, or deprives happiness, by its absence of pleasure and its presence of pain. Mill then went on to discuss difference qualities of pleasure, having higher and lower pleasure. He points out that some pleasures ae more desirable than others, and that most utilitarian writers prefer mental pleasures over bodily. He of higher senses, who is unhappy, would not wish to become an animal, or someone of lower senses, and who is happy with its lot in life, simply to become happy. This is because with higher senses, a man has a higher requirement for that which makes him happy. Therefore, while the lesser man is happy, the higher man would not be happy in similar circumstances, and thus utility is subjective. That is not to say that one of higher means cannot over time lose his higher sense of what pleases him if he constantly chooses that which pleases him a little less simply because it is easier to attain than that which pleases him more. This unwillingness to do so has many possible reason, which Mill does not go into any great detail on. He does list pride, love of liberty and personal independence, love power, love of excitement, and sense of dignity. Mills also points out that often in the case of decisions of physical pleasure, a man

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