The Principle Of Moralism In John Stuart Miller's Utilitarianism

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John Stuart Mill, in Utilitarianism, explains his principle of utility and its importance to morality. Bernard Williams challenges Mill’s views by utilizing thought experiments and is ultimately successful in undermining some forms of utilitarianism. The principle of utility, according to Mill, is the idea that actions must produce the most happiness possible. Pain and the privation of pleasure are the direct opposites of Mill’s argument for the principle of utility, or his “First Principle.” Furthermore, Mill is concerned about the end goals of our actions and how we can achieve them. He argues that since most sciences are not based on first principles, morality, “a practical art,” requires for the necessity of a first principle because …show more content…
Consider for example, a relatively young man, George, who recently completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry. He is happily married with two children, but he himself is rather ill and thus has trouble finding a job. His wife works, but at the expense of their children, who are neglected as a result. It seems that the family’s dire circumstances are about to change as George is offered a position in a laboratory. The job pays very well, but involves the creation of biological and chemical weapons, which George is extremely opposed to. However, if George fails to accept the position, an another chemist will surely welcome the new position with great enthusiasm and passion and most likely speed up the production of such deadly weapons. George’s wife has no exception since the family clearly needs the money. Ultimately, should George accept the job and help his family even though he loses his integrity in the process or let a passionate and seemingly dangerous chemist accept the position while saving his own …show more content…
If he refuses, only the more passionate chemist will be happy and perhaps some advocates of such warfare, but if George takes the job, his family would benefit tremendously, but at his expense. George’s guilt or integrity is not calculated at all in Mill’s utilitarian calculus, only the net happiness is focuses upon. Simply, a utilitarian approach removes the individual from their own moral integrity at the expense of other’s “happiness.” One’s identity is surely more important than the relative pleasure of strangers. Additionally, complete responsibility is placed on the individual refusing to act, George in this case. Why should he solely be accountable for the well-being of others? Mill explains that there is a natural duty of humans to help each other and the fear of displeasing God, but there is still necessarily no clear evidence that we must strive for aggregate happiness to achieve those goals. Even so, if George is to calculate each alternative, as a proper utilitarian, and weigh the net happiness of each action then he has the ability to place the value of his own happiness above other’s. Therefore, if George values his moral integrity and happiness above that of his family and the supposed passionate chemist, he has the complete right to not accept the job and still please the utilitarian

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