Mill utilitarianism essay questions

An understanding of this topic could prove useful to IB philosophy students taking ethics as one of their chosen options. I am focusing here on the nature of utilitarianism and am not considering its weaknesses. These will be looked at in a separate post. Utilitarianism is a moral theory generally considered to have been founded by Jeremy Bentham, a 19th century English philosopher and social reformer.

Mill utilitarianism essay questions

For its publication he brought old manuscripts into form and added some new material.

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Mill planned from the beginning a separate book publication, which came to light in One must not forget that since his first reading of Bentham in the winter ofthe time to which Mill dates his conversion to utilitarianism, forty years had passed.

Taken this way, Utilitarianism was anything but a philosophical accessory, and instead the programmatic text of a thinker who for decades had understood himself as a utilitarian and who was profoundly familiar with popular objections to the principle of utility in moral theory.

Almost ten years earlier Mill had defended utilitarianism against the intuitionistic philosopher William Whewell Whewell on Moral Philosophy. The priority of the text was to popularize the fundamental thoughts of utilitarianism within influential circles.

This goal explains the composition of the work. After some general introductory comments, the text defends utilitarianism from common criticisms "What Utilitarianism Is". After this Mill turns to the question concerning moral motivation "Of the Ultimate Sanction of the Principle of Utility".

What makes utilitarianism peculiar, according to Mill, is its hedonistic theory of the good CW 10, Utilitarians are, by definition, hedonists.

For this reason, Mill sees no need to differentiate between the utilitarian and the hedonistic aspect of his moral theory. Today we routinely differentiate between hedonism as a theory of the good and utilitarianism as a consequentialist theory of the right. Utilitarians are, for him, consequentialists who believe that pleasure is the only intrinsic value.

Mill counts as one of the great classics of utilitarian thought; but this moral theory deviates from what many contemporary philosophers consider core features of utilitarianism. This explains why the question whether Mill is a utilitarian is more serious than it may appear on first inspection see Coope One may respond that this problem results from an anachronistic understanding of utilitarianism, and that it disappears if one abstains from imputing modern philosophical concepts on a philosopher of the nineteenth century.

However, this response would oversimplify matters. As mentioned before, Mill maintains that hedonism is the differentia specifica of utilitarianism; if he were not a hedonist, he would be no utilitarian by his own definition.

His view of theory of life was monistic: There is one thing, and one thing only, that is intrinsically desirable, namely pleasure. In contrast to a form of hedonism that conceives pleasure as a homogeneous matter, Mill was convinced that some types of pleasure are more valuable than others in virtue of their inherent qualities.

Many philosophers hold that qualitative hedonism is no consistent position. Hedonism asserts that pleasure is the only intrinsic value. Under this assumption, the critics argue, there can be no evaluative basis for the distinction between higher and lower pleasures. Probably the first ones to raise this common objection were the British idealists F.

Which inherent qualities make one kind of pleasure better than another, according to Mill?

Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

These enjoyments make use of highly developed capacities, like judgment and empathy. This seems to be a surprising thing to say for a hedonist. However, Mill thought that we have a solid empirical basis for this view.

Mill utilitarianism essay questions

According to him, the best obtainable evidence for value claims consists in what all or almost all people judge as valuable across a vast variety of cases and cultures. This partly explains why he put such great emphasis on education.

Until the s, the significance of the chapter had been largely overlooked.I felt like a burden. Then I discovered John Stuart Mill and Milton Friedman and they said “People deserve to determine the course of their own lives” and “you own yourself” and stuff like that and I started entertaining the idea that I deserved to live, by virtue of being human.

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility, which is usually defined as that which produces the greatest well-being of the greatest number of people, and in some cases, sentient animals. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of.

John Stuart Mill (–) was the most famous and influential British philosopher of the nineteenth century.

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He was one of the last systematic philosophers, making significant contributions in logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and social theory. Published: Mon, 5 Dec John Stuart Mill opens his essay, Utilitarianism, by mentioning that there’s little progress being made toward a standard system that judges people’s actions as morally right or .

Utilitarianism study guide contains a biography of John Stuart Mill, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Essay on Utilitarianism Words | 4 Pages. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory proposed by Jeremy Bentham and defended by James Mill.

The theory says, that all the activities should be directed towards the accomplishment of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

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