Research Paper On John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism

1643 Words 7 Pages
John Stuart Mill was a British nineteenth century philosopher who believed utilitarianism was the theory that could truly define moral actions. The theory of utilitarianism’s purpose is to create the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Mill believed that all the philosophers before him were wrong in their theories as they were looking in the wrong place. Utilitarianism, according to Mill, was misunderstood and throughout his book, he address and corrects objections to this theory. Additionally, Mill explains how sanctions, both internal and external, lead to the development of a conscience which governs actions, choosing the ones which are morally right. Mill also explains on how utilitarianism can be used …show more content…
In utilitarianism though, actions themselves have no moral worth. It is the consequences of actions that decide if the action is right, and what moral value is based on. Intentions do not matter; only the result does. The result of actions should create the greatest amount of happiness for as many people as possible to have moral value. Previous philosophers of utilitarianism believed happiness to be solely on quantity, however, Mill adds an additional piece to utilitarianism. Mill defines happiness as pleasure with the absence of pain. Mill goes on to add that there are two types of pleasure: lower and higher pleasure. Lower pleasure are bodily pleasures while higher pleasures are rational and mental pleasures. This distinction Mill makes counters the object that utilitarianism is based on any and every pleasure. So according to Mill, the definition of utilitarianism is the greatest amount of happiness, from the higher pleasures, to the greatest number of …show more content…
Both utilitarianism and democracy share similar ideals such as equality, cooperation, unity, and freedom. While utilitarianism seemingly implies that people can do what they want as long as their actions increase happiness, from higher pleasures, for the greatest amount of people and do not violate the rights of others based on the ideals, this is not true. Utilitarianism does not deal in absolutes. As Mill states if society needs to deny a certain right to avoid unhappiness, then they can. The government has the authority to deny rights if it is for the protection of happiness for the greatest amount of people. For example, the right to privacy is often taken away from citizens as the government will monitor calls and web searches to search for those who want to harm people, thus preventing

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