John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism And Intellectual Pleasures

1260 Words 6 Pages
Utilitarianism is a moral doctrine that implies that the right course of action is the one that produces the greatest balance of benefits over harms for everyone affected. Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism defined happiness is to be anything that causes pleasure and unhappiness is to be anything that causes pain. John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher and economist, took Bentham’s moral theories on Utilitarianism and developed them farther. Mill formed all of his ideas off of Bentham’s theories on utilitarianism. Bentham called the Utilitarianism principle the principle of utility, and believed that ones actions can be judged by it. However, Mill called it the Greatest Happiness Principle and said that, “actions are right in proportion …show more content…
Intellectual pleasures are pleasures such as learning new information, solving puzzles, reading a good book, or making a discovery. Physical pleasures are things such as eating food, taking a nap, having sex, nature, art or numerous social pleasures. According to Mill the highest good is what produces the most pleasure. This means that whatever pleasure creates the most amount of happiness for the most amount of people is considered the more valuable pleasure. Mill says that physical pleasures and based off of quantity because people come across physical pleasures more often. Intellectual pleasures on the other hand are based off of quality because they provide a strong and long lasting effect. The purpose of this essay is to argue that intellectual pleasures are of higher value than physical pleasures. Intellectual pleasures are of greater value because unlike physical pleasures, intellectual pleasures are entirely self contained, they are not dependent upon ones body, and like Mill states, has a longer lasting and stronger …show more content…
These two pleasures also differ in worth. According to Utilitarianism intellectual pleasures are worthy of being desired and pursued more than animal pleasures therefore they are of higher value than physical pleasures. Intellectual and physical pleasures are According to Mill, a pleasure is of higher quality if one that experienced both would prefer it over the other. Mill contends, it is an "unquestionable fact" that, given equal access to all kinds of pleasures, people will prefer those that appeal to their "higher" faculties (No Philosophy of Swine). Intellectual pleasures are of higher character than physical pleasures because physical pleasures are seen to be animalistic. The whole goal of utilitarianism is to create happiness. To be happy a human being requires other things, and perhaps more things, than physical pleasures provide. “Human beings have faculties more elevated than the animal appetites, and when once made conscious of them, do not regard anything as happiness which does not include their gratification”(No Philosophy for Swine). According to Mill, a person will never choose to lower their existence by choosing a physical pleasure, to maintain their dignity instead. Mill writes, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig

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