Mill Paper - In Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill presents...

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In Utilitarianism , John Stuart Mill presents the case that all morality is derived from one central, over-arching element: the maximization of what is "good". To Mill the only thing that is "good" is pleasure. The obvious corollary that he purports is that the only thing that is "bad" is pain. He thus illustrates that every decision should with the concept in mind that we all ought to promote the maximization of what is good. Mill makes no distinction between decisions to promote the pleasure of one's self and choices that promote pleasure for others. He only relates that the goals of the human race should be to maximize pleasure for the maximum number of people, and, that concept's counterpart, to minimize pain for the same. In short, "The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals "utility"…holds that actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness." (Mill 7) The concepts of "duty" and "conscience" could then be called the impulse of every person to fulfill that goal. With this in mind he continues that all other elements of morality (pursuance of sex, decision making, virtue, love of money, want of fame, etc.) arise out of this maximization-of-the-good principle. These concepts are elements of the "good" (i.e. morality) and can be further divided into two subsets: those which arise from within, innate elements, and those that are not naturally part of us, those elements which are acquired through socialization and education. Pleasures of a simple variety, those which arise from our basic biology, are natural and innate, according to Mill. In this view, we are not taught that the sensation of hunger causes us anguish any more than we are taught that the quenching of said hunger produces satisfaction and contentment. Mill views these concepts as less refined, lower
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pleasures, although they are still very much part of "the good." The seeking out of these simple pleasures fits into accordance with Utilitarianism because it does promote good, albeit for only the individual. The pursuance of this kind of pleasure to a point where it
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course PHIL 105 taught by Professor Lachs during the Spring '08 term at Vanderbilt.

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Mill Paper - In Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill presents...

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