Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
Classical utilitarianism is hedonist, but values other than, or in addition to, pleasure (ideal utilitarianism) can be employed, or—more neutrally, and in a version popular in economics—anything can be regarded as valuable that appears as an object of rational or informed desire (preference utilitarianism). The test of utility maximization can also be applied directly to single acts (act utilitarianism), or to acts only indirectly through some other suitable object of moral assessment, such as rules of conduct (rule utilitarianism).
Utilitarianism opens with a short chapter in which J. S. Mill, having traced the utilitarian tradition Socrates criticizes intuitionist philosophies and invites to overcome the Kantian definition of moral obligation on behalf of his consequentialism.
Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill Essay Example
In Chapter II he states that “actions are good or bad insofar as they tend to promote happiness, or to produce the reverse of happiness.” But this hedonism, is not to reduce man seeking pleasure in an animal requires not confuse happiness and satisfaction and to introduce a qualitative difference between pleasures – the most desirable being those who implement the higher faculties – experience that ensures we operate. Ultimately, “the happiness which forms the utilitarian standard of conduct is not the agent own happiness, but the happiness of all concerned.” Based not on interest but usefulness, this ideal is only accessible under certain specific guidance naturally and without sacrifice the development of individual potential to the benefit of society social and cultural conditions.
How to create and enforce the terms of this altruism? This is discussed in Chapter III, which deals with the issue of sanctions and sense of duty. If utilitarian morality has ” external sanctions ” (fear of others, or of God) and “internal sanctions” (the feeling of moral obligation), it is mainly in the social sense available to everyone that sees Mill its most solid foundation.
Chapter IV is devoted to the problem of “proof of the principle of utility.” Starting from the idea that “the only thing we can give to establish that something is desirable, it is in fact we desire,” Mill sees virtue, defined as the mean happiness as an end and in itself, the object of desire most able to fulfill the utilitarian goal. Follows a discussion of the concept of will which, born of desire, is maintained by habit, which guarantees the fulfillment of virtuous duties regardless of pleasures and pains they provide.
To establish the absence of opposition between the categories of right and useful, the long chapter V undertakes a first investigation into the origin of the sense of justice through the identification of patterns of actions deemed reprehensible (offense legal and moral justices, without merit, breach of commitment, bias, inequality). Mill then attempts to show that the desire to punish (itself linked to the instinctive need to defend themselves) initiates the feeling that actually conceals considerations of interest (personal safety). Therefore, transforming this natural desire moral quality exclusively oriented social welfare, “the practice of justice based on the utility part is the centerpiece, the most sacred part incomparably longer mandatory and morality.”
The main contribution of Utilitarianism is the project of its rational ethics that replaces the hedonistic and egoist conception of happiness and altruism theory in which the principle of utility is based directly on the plurality of purposes and the complexity of motives, moral obligation and social feelings. In this attempt to reconcile self-realization and collective happiness, Kantian duty and Benthamite utility, individual freedom and social justice, many commentators have pointed out the difficulties posed by the argument of indirect utilitarianism of Mill confuses in his classification of pleasures, fact and value, in its naturalistic ethics is and ought to be, and in his conception of virtue, moral intention and moral statement.
However, Utilitarianism is a pivotal part of the history of the utilitarian doctrine that eventually will emancipate the reformist ambition that is still clothed in Mill’s thought, to take a more theoretical nature. Inspired philosophers H. Sedgwick and GE Moore, discussed by economists of the marginal utility (Edgeworth, Jevons, Pareto), the book will feed, despite the triumph of neo- Hegelianism, intellectual debates of Victorian England who extend until the twentieth century, through the renewal of issues made especially by the work of A. Sen and J. Harsanyi and stimulated by critics R. Nozick and Rawls.