Utilitarianism and Happiness

I have dwelt on this point [judging the quality of pleasures] as being a necessary pan of a perfectly just conception of utility or happiness considered as the directive rule of human conduct, But it is by no means an indispensable condition to the acceptance of the utilitarian standard r r r and if it may possibly be doubted whether a noble character is always the happier of its nobleness, there can be no doubt that it makes other people happier, and that can the world in general is immensely a gainer by it, Utilitarianism, therefore, could only attain its end by the general cultivation of nobleness of character, even if each individual were only benefited by the nobleness of others, and his own, so far as happiness is concerned, were a sheer deduction from the benefit.

(Mill 11) Throughout the entire semester in this ethics class, we have struggled with the concept of what defines goodness and morality.

In our latest reading by John Stuart Mill, “ULilitarianism and the 1868 Speech on Capital Punishment,” the concept of utilitarianism was introduced, and its role on our ability to achieve happiness in life.

Aristotle, as we have learned, believed that happiness is the ultimate goodness to be obtained in one’s life, but felt in contrast that one shouldn‘t spend an entire lifetime solely trying to obtain it by becoming a slave to the task In “Utilitarianism” we discover an alternate idea to Aristotle‘s: utilitarianism. Utilitarianism believes that what we do in life is ethically judged based on whether or not the outcome leads to our happiness is.

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Mill elaborates “mthe theory of life on which this theory of morality is grounded — namely, that pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things desirable as ends; and that all desirable things (which are as numerous in the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are desirable either for pleasure inherent in themselves or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain”.

According to Mill, utilitarianism would require a lack of pain and a gain of pleasure, be it for ourselves firstly, and then for those around us secondly if at all possible. He then surmises that to have this idea function properly, a ranking system of experts whom are experienced in both pain and pleasure alike must be able to assert which pleasures are more worthwhile or valuable than others. He then continues on to say that the more happiness and less pain that results from the action would render the action more morally justified. Mill states “mthe ultimate end, with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable — whether we are considering our own good or that of other people — is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments, both in point of quantity and quality.

This, being according to the utilitarian opinion the end of human action, is necessarily also the standard of morality, which may accordingly be defined “the rules and precepts for human conduct” (12) Mill offers the possibility of counter—proposals in “Utilitarianism” that one might conclude from thinking about this new and argumentative line of thinking, including how one might believe that such good fortunes in life could lead to possibly disastrous outcomes, 15‘ Mill writes that the adaptation of utilitarianism would in fact lead to the eradication of the major issues that our society faces today, such as poverty, disease, and our common enemiest Because according to the line of thinking applied, should mankind use its wisdom and power and knowledge obtained and as good, according to utilitarianism, these issues could be decreased if not entirely eliminated.

Mills believed that through utilitarianism we could use the pleasures achieved toward an ultimate good: “All the grand sources, in short, of human suffering are in a great degree, many of them almost entirely, conquerable by human care and effort, and though their removal is grievously slow — though a long succession of generations will perish in the breach before the conquest is completed, and this might easily be made 7 yet every mind sufficiently intelligent and generous to bear a part, however small and inconspicuous, in the endeavor will draw a noble enjoyment form the contest itself, which he would not for any bribe in the form of selfish indulgence consent to be without” (15), Simply put, if mankind were to adapt utilitarianism, all the great thinkers could come together, having their power and resources of great extent, and if these noble men were to come together, many of our problems today could be dissolved

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Utilitarianism and Happiness. (2022, Dec 21). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/utilitarianism-and-its-role-in-an-individual-s-ability-to-achieve-happiness-in-life/

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