Document Type:Coursework

Subject Area:Philosophy

Document 1

John Stuart Mill had a lot of interest in the definitions of happiness and how it affects the lives of individuals. Based on his assumptions, the human being was able to survive through utilitarianism. This theory means that any action that leads to a happiness in a substantial group of individuals was likely a good thing. Apart from this, Mill provided various explanations and arguments to support the basis of his theory. For example the quote that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” resulted in a lot of research and analysis in the philosophical world. The quote means that the best way to distinguish between a right and a wrong act is by analyzing its effect on the “greater happiness” of people. If many people become happy after the performance of the task, then that act is right by nature. Whereas, if many people were sad after the deed, then act is wrong by nature. This specification marks the difference. Mill was adamant in portraying that happiness was essential in the survival of humans. It resulted in satisfaction in humans’ lives. He was trying to bridge the connection between a happy life and it may affect the ethicality of certain actions. It is worth considering the fact that many of the philosophers at the time were attempting to evaluate what defined good or bad moral values. This essay is going to delve into what utilitarianism meant, according to Mill.

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Also, it is going to evaluate the accuracy of the quote based on the quote provided. There are distinct values that surround the premise between the meaning of right and wrong. For instance, some individuals have a precise level ground when it comes to comparing these two segments of moral values. John Stuart Mill was an evident philosopher who sought to determine how individuals ought to define both good and bad moral attitudes. He was able to invent a famous ideology that has gained a lot of proposing and opposing arguments. First, he asserted that a good action or task was one that resulted in the greater good of the public or the world. This rhetoric, therefore, sums up the fact that pleasures related to the higher faculties of the individual resulted in a tremendous level of happiness (Donner, 145).

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Whereas, those of lower faculties resulted in a lower grade of joy or satisfaction. Scholars, also, seemed to accept the fact that human beings were likely to choose actions or objects that progressed to a higher level of happiness. As we live, people go through different sets of experiences. In many instances, one is more likely to opt for an option or action that elicited a very high level of happiness. Critics of Mill’s moral philosophy argue that the theory of utilitarianism does not take into consideration the fact that many of the individuals in the world have various levels and definitions of happiness. In fact, what someone else treats as a loss might be considered a profit by another person. A country that progresses to the World Cup for the first time in its history might attract great happiness from its citizens, unlike a nation that has continually competed in the World Cup.

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In this argument, one cannot quantify what the whole of the world's population views as happiness. The ‘Greater Happiness Principle’, hence, fails to appreciate the fact that a substantial section of the community might not, indeed, value the same action portrayed by others as a group. It results in the greater happiness perspective whereby many individuals would be happy, and the task would be viewed as reasonable. However, Mill's theory would disregard the fact that a substantial number of family members would lose their loved ones. It does not consider the fact that sadness for a group of individuals negates the whole aspect of a deed or action being good. In conclusion, I believe that Mill was wrong when he said that an action that resulted in “greater happiness” was the right action to perform.

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The reason for this statement is because many of the actions that led to the happiness of people might potentially be bad in nature (Mill, 105). Garvey, Brian, and Kthryn MacKay. Free will and determinism. Lancaster University, 2017. Golob, Sacha, and Jens Timmermann, eds. The Cambridge History of Moral Philosophy.

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