Bulisik

John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism

Posted on: March 12, 2009

Chapter: 5- John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism

Book: Contemporary Moral Problems

Author: James E. White

Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Contemporary-Moral-Problems-James

White/dp/0495553204/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234122156&sr=1-1

Quote: “By happiness are intended pleasures and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and privation of pleasures.”

What I expect to learn:

The learning expectation for this chapter review would be whose happiness should be considered? What is the higher and lower pleasure?

Chapter Review:

For me, this chapter is all about studying happiness and pleasure. This describes whether whom should be happy, oneself or the majority.

This chapter also describes the meaning of the principle of utility. The Principle of Utility or the greatest happiness principle state that the actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness are intended pleasures and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and privation of pleasures. It also describes the what are higher and lower pleasure and its difference. The higher pleasure is the one that all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feelings of moral obligation to prefer it. While the lower pleasure is when those who are competently acquainted with both, place so far above the other that they prefer it, even though knowing it to be attended with a greater amount of discontent, and would not resign it for any quantity of the other pleasures which their nature is capable of.

This chapter also describes whose happiness should be considered. For me, in what I understand about the case, those who are in greater in number or the majority should be considered in happiness.

What I’ve learned:

What have I learned is that true happiness is cannot be seen by the happiness of one person but in the happiness of the majority.

Integrative Questions:

1. What is principle of utility?

2. What is a doctrine worthy only of swine?

3. Give examples of higher pleasures.

4. Give examples of lower pleasures.

5. Whose happiness should be considered?

Review Questions:

1. State and explain the Principle of Utility. Show how it could be used to justify actions that are conventionally viewed as wrong, such as lying and stealing.

The Principle of Utility or the greatest happiness principle state that the actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness are intended pleasures and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and privation of pleasures.

The Principle of Utility could be used to justify actions that are conventionally viewed as wrong by for example lying could be a cause for a person to be unhappy. His conscience could kill him. He would always be thinking about his lies.

2. How does Mill reply to the objection that Epicureanism is a doctrine worthy only of swine?

Mill said that the objection that Epicureanism is a doctrine worthy only of swine is disregarding precisely because the beast’s pleasure does not satisfy human beings conceptions of happiness.

3. How odes Mill distinguish between higher and lower pleasures?

The higher pleasure is the one that all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feelings of moral obligation to prefer it. While the lower pleasure is when those who are competently acquainted with both, place so far above the other that they prefer it, even though knowing it to be attended with a greater amount of discontent, and would not resign it for any quantity of the other pleasures which their nature is capable of.

4. According to Mill, whose happiness must be considered?

For me, in what I understand about the case, those who are in greater in number or the majority should be considered in happiness.

5. Carefully reconstruct Mill’s proof of the Principle of Utility.

According to the utilitarian conception, there was no original desire of it, or motive to it, save its conduciveness to pleasure, and especially to protection from pain. But through the association thus formed, it may be felt a good in itself, and desired as such with a great intensity as any other good; and with this difference between it and the love of money, of power, or of fame, that all of these may, and often do, render the individual noxious to the other members of the society to which he belongs, whereas there is nothing which makes him so much a blessing to them as the cultivation of the disinterested love of virtue.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is happiness nothing more than pleasure, and the absence of pain? What do you think?

I disagree because happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness can stand alone even without pleasure. You can smile even without pleasure.

2. Does Mill convince you that the so-called higher pleasures are better than the lower ones?

Yes because in higher pleasures, you should be ready for anything or you should be superior in anything.

3. Mill says, “In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete sprit of the ethics of utility.” Is this true or not?

I agree because you should do something for the majority and not for yourself alone. Make a move that ensures that the majority will be happy as you are.

4. Many commentators have thought that Mill’s proof of the Principle of Utility is defective. Do you agree? If so, then what mistake or mistakes does he make? Is there any way to reformulate the proof so that it is not defective?

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