Critical Analysis Of John Stuart Mill's 'Utilitarianism'
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John Stuart Mill, at the very beginning of chapter 2 entitled “what is utilitarianism”. starts off by explaining to the readers what utility is, Utility is defined as pleasure itself, and the absence of pain. This leads us to another name for utility which is the greatest happiness principle. Mill claims that “actions are right in proportions as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” “By Happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain, by happiness, pain and the privation of pleasure”. (Mill, utilitarianism, p.697)
To put this into simpler terms, Mill is essentially saying events or experiences are desirable only when it is a source for pleasure, so actions are good when they lead to higher levels of general happiness and they are deemed as bad when it lowers your general level of happiness. However, it is important to note utilitarianism doesn’t say it is morally right for everyone to purse what make them alone happy but instead morality is dictated by what increases the total amount of utility in the world.
Pursuing your own happiness at the expense of the majority of social happiness would be viewed as wrong by utilitarian’s. Mill then proceeded to say that morality requires impartial consideration of the interest of everyone involved, its not just about your own happiness. Utilitarian suggest that we make our moral decisions from the position of a benevolent, disinterested spectator. Rather than thinking about