John Stuart Mill's Maximization Of Happiness

1213 Words 5 Pages
This essay will set out to prove that Mill’s belief that our moral imperative is to maximize net happiness without accounting for equal distribution, regardless of certain individuals’ happiness, is incorrect. It will be shown that Mill’s argument system for deciding this is flawed, and that it lacks vital definitions that determine the basis of the argument. This essay concludes that without these proper definitions for happiness or pleasure, and without a way of quantifying these, it is impossible to objectively maximize happiness without also attempting to distribute it equally among every individual.
First, we must examine and dissect Mill’s argument before we can refute it. Mill starts off by attempting to answer why the field of science
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He says that actions themselves do not have any inherent value, and that the only way we can assign value to anything in the world is based on the quality and quantity of the pleasure it produces. An action is good if it increases the overall happiness of the world, regardless of who or how many people will benefit from said action. Concluding from this, Mill decides on a moral view that can be described as such: Since pleasure is the only intrinsic good in the world, the only actions we should take are ones that increase pleasure, and since it does not matter who is benefitting, we should always take the action that maximizes net happiness, even at the expense of others’ or one’s own …show more content…
If a doctor has one liver, and five patients in need of a liver transplant, then she has two options. Option A would be to split the liver equally between all five patients so that they all live, and each of them will have a moderately healthy, moderately happy life. Option B would be to give the entire liver to just one patient, letting the other four patients die so that he can have a very happy, very healthy life. According to Mill’s theory, the morally right action in this situation is Option B, if the doctor believes that the single patient who gets to live will have a happier, healthier life than all five of the patients combined. Without a way to quantify happiness, it negates the other four patients’ right to life if the doctor feels that they deserve it less, which creates

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