Mill - MillsUtilitarianism pp.314326 Principle...

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Mill’s Utilitarianism pp. 314 - 326
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So we can start with the Greatest Happiness  Principle: Actions are right in proportion as they tend  to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to  produce the reverse of happiness”
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Now, by ‘happiness’ Mill means PLEASURE  and the absence of pain; and by  unhappiness, he means PAIN and the  absence of pleasure. So there is a lot of focus on pleasure and  pain.  Mill thinks, in fact, that pleasure, and  freedom from pain, are the only things  desirable as ends (and that all desirable  things are desirable either for the pleasure  inherent in themselves or as a means to the 
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So the view is pretty easy to understand, most  of the rest of what Mill talks about are  objections to it (though I’m going to add on  some at the end). The first one is:  “to suppose that life has no higher end than  pleasure—no better and nobler object of desire  and pursuit—they designate as utterly mean  and groveling; as a doctrine worthy only of 
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What does Mill say in response? He says it’s not HE who represents humanity in  such a negative light BUT HIS ATTACKERS. In other words, the people who think the  doctrine is only worthy of swine have assumed  that man is capable of no higher pleasures than  a simple pig.  
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Isn’t it true, though, that “human beings  have faculties more elevated than the  animal appetites; and, when once made  conscious of them, do not regard anything  as happiness which does not include their  gratification”?? That is, the pig doesn’t enjoy reading  Shakespeare (or whoever writes for  Hustler, or whatever).  That’s not a  pleasure of which the pig is capable.
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To put it in still other words, there’s a difference  between QUANTITY and QUALITY of pleasure. Quantity: just HOW MUCH of a pleasure you  get Quality: how GOOD the pleasure is
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What Mill is saying is that we humans are  capable of higher quality pleasures. Sure, it might give us a lot of pleasure to roll  around in the mud.  But days of that are nothing  in comparison with the one-time pleasure we  get from, e.g., listening to a good piece of  music. The quantity of rolling in the mud for days  doesn’t compare to the quality of listening to  one good piece of music.
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Okay, but how do you tell the difference  between the qualities?? Here Mill has a TEST: “Of two pleasures, if there be on to which all or  almost all who have experience of both give a  decided preference, irrespective of any feeling  of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more  desirable pleasure.”
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Mill - MillsUtilitarianism pp.314326 Principle...

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