John Stuart Mill: The Origin Of Utilitarianism

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Register to read the introduction… Bentham found pain and pleasure to be the only intrinsic values in the world: "nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure." From this he derived the rule of utility, that the good is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. Later, after realizing that the formulation recognized two different and potentially conflicting principles, he dropped the second part and talked simply about "the greatest happiness principle." Jeremy Bentham's foremost proponent was James Mill, a significant philosopher in his day and the father of John Stuart Mill. The younger Mill was educated according to Bentham's principles, including transcribing and summarising much of his father's work whilst still in his teens. In his famous short work, Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill argued that cultural, intellectual, and spiritual pleasures are of greater value than mere physical pleasure, because the former would be valued more highly by competent judges than the latter. A competent judge, according to Mill, is anyone who has experienced both the lower pleasures and the higher. Like Bentham's formulation, Mill's utilitarianism is hedonistic, because it deals with pleasure or …show more content…
Cultural Relativism (sociological relativism): the descriptive view that different groups of people have different moral standards for evaluating acts as right or wrong. A. Hence, it is not an ethical doctrine--it's a sociological or observational conclusion--even so; the view is somewhat ambiguous. B. For example, different groups might have the same basic moral principle, but apply the principle in radically different situations. (If we take the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number as an instance, then this utilitarian principle could be instantiated both in the present day U.S.'s custom to care for the aged and infirm and the historical Inuit custom for the elderly and infirm go off to die rather than endanger the tribe as it moves to winter quarters. The same principle here has two significantly different applications.) 1. A second sense of cultural relativism is less obvious. I.e., that different cultures differ on basic moral principles. 2. A possible reason for the observation of cultural relativism is shown by the example of basic moral principles which could be said to support different moral rules according to the interpretations of different cultures. In the following diagrams, there are two vastly different interpretations listed for each moral

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