The Principles Of Utilitarianism And Utilitarianism Essay

1221 Words Aug 14th, 2014 5 Pages
John Stuart Mill is a Consequentialist, and furthermore, a Utilitarian. Consequentialism is a category of ethical theories on moral action, meaning that the morality of actions are judged according to the consequences of them, and utilitarianism is a normative moral theory that falls into this category. For Mill, whether an act is morally right or not, depends on the pleasure and pain that lies in the consequences of that action. Mill writes Utilitarianism to explain the principles of utilitarianism and to “distinguish from what it is not” (364). He also addresses common misconceptions and criticisms of the ethical theory, but I will focus on the objection that utilitarianism is a doctrine fit for a swine. First, I will explain the main principle of utilitarianism, namely, the Greatest Happiness Principle, and define happiness according to doctrine. I will then evaluate the objection, as well as, Mill’s response to this argument. Lastly, I will use my evaluation to analyze Mill’s response and determine whether it was effective or not.
The Greatest Happiness Principle holds that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (365). Mill further explains the principle by defining happiness and unhappiness, or reverse of happiness. Happiness is the “intended pleasure, and the absence of pain” and is of intrinsic value, while unhappiness is “pain and the privation of pleasure” and of intrinsic disvalue…

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