Utilitarianism, By John Stuart Mill Essay

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Like many philosophical ideas, utilitarianism is a theory that will probably seem like a familiar type of thought. While John Stuart Mill wasn 't solely responsible for it, his name is most often associated with utilitarianism. Simply put, the theory of utilitarianism holds that the right action is the one that will go the farthest toward increasing happiness for the community as a whole. This approach has both a political and an ethical dimension. We’ll look more closely at how we might draw upon utilitarianism next week. In the political context, the political structure/policy that is right is the one which produces the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. If this sounds somewhat open to interpretation, it is supposed to. While Mill did not explicitly discuss his social philosophy in terms of a social contract, his position involves a similar idea. Mill 's idea was that human beings desire happiness first and foremost. We orient our lives to try to increase our own general happiness as much a possible. Because happiness is our goal, he reasoned, it makes sense to evaluate the goodness of an action based on its general effect on happiness. Further, as social beings, we shouldn 't be concerned only with our own happiness. Therefore, when we are evaluating the impact of an action on happiness, we should be concerned with the happiness of people in general. Thus, if we are faced with a choice between action A and action B, we should ask ourselves “how would…

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