One of the most influential thinkers of the nineteenth century was John Stuart Mill. He published on a variety of topics, including logic, economics, political philosophy, and religion. Utilitarianism, his work, offers a style of thinking that promises to enhance happiness for people who use it. The reading, Chapter 4: Utilitarianism, from What is this Thing Called Ethics, complements Mill’s writing nicely.
Mill develops the utility principle by stating: “In proportion, activities are right because they tend to enhance happiness, but they are wrong because they tend to create the opposite of happiness. Happiness entails pleasure and the absence of pain, whereas sadness entails pain and the denial of pleasure. (Mill No. 77) Simply said, the most desirable actions are those that provide pleasure or alleviate pain. Is it, however, correct to reduce life’s meaning to whether or not an action causes pain or pleasure? The quality of various pleasures informs one’s decision between two options.
The utilitarian will carry out actions that will benefit mankind. If X and Y are two actions or decisions, and Y brings more happiness to humanity, utilitarians will agree that Y should be carried out regardless of most other factors. This can be advantageous since utilitarianism appears to appeal to a wide range of people because it prioritizes the interests of the many (Bennett 56). It encourages fairness and equality by stating that one person’s happiness is as valuable as another’s. Utilitarianism addresses moral concerns and eliminates prejudices based on birth, sex, color, and social status by assessing each person’s happiness as a value of one, no less and no more. Utilitarianism does not impose moral constraints on what we can do; rather, it instructs us to maximize the common good by analyzing the costs and benefits of options (Bennett 58). This viewpoint was easy for me to concur with at my initial reading. I realized I needed to consider both extremes before deciding whether I am a utilitarian, just as subjectivism appeared good until Hitler was mentioned.
Utilitarianism, as I quickly realized, can have unsettling effects in certain situations. Bennett describes a circumstance in which utilitarianism does not assist a person or party who is widely assumed to be guilty but is truly innocent. How should a utilitarian police chief act in the best interests of society if the genuine culprit of the crime has died? The two potential acts, according to utilitarianism, are to do nothing or to punish the innocent party. Assuming the party’s innocence was never in jeopardy, and assuming that nothing is X and punishment is Y, X = no effect and Y = some positive outcomes such as the “After a shooting spree or mass murder, a community comes together or the healing process begins. Then, because it is better for the community as a whole, Y will be used. Despite the fact that the scenario is quite detailed, it nonetheless results in the conviction of an innocent person. As a result, utilitarianism produces immoral results. I can’t call myself a true, pure utilitarian because of this absence of moral outcomes.
Rule-utilitarianism, I reasoned, may be a response to utilitarianism’s critics. Rule-utilitarians agree that an activity is correct if and only if it is governed by a rule that, if followed universally, would provide greater benefit than an alternative rule (Bennett 64). In actuality, humans do not consider all of their options before making a decision. Humans utilize habitual patterns of behavior (Bennett 63) to assist them in accomplishing the majority of their tasks “instead of having to start from the beginning each time. The concept is to “Always consider the repercussions of your actions and strive to act in the best possible way (Bennett 65). However, rule-utilitarianism has been criticized for determining what is moral and what is not in a method that is too contingent or incidental.
The push towards human cloning is a modern example of utilitarian ethics. The author of the article The Prospect of Human Cloning, Judith Daar, provides the example of a family who has lost a child and would benefit from cloning. The genetic similarities between the deceased child and the new child would be uncanny, and this could help to heal the hearts of the families. Daar cites research that suggest there is support for human cloning, which is bolstered by parents and families who have lost children during childbirth or at an early age (Daar 16). A utilitarian would have to assess the benefits to the family of having a child of the same race vs the unhappiness or discrimination that would result from having a child of a different race (clones).
Oskar Piest, John Stuart, and Mill Utilitarianism. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, 1957. Print.
Christopher Bennett is a writer “Utilitarianism is the fourth chapter. What Is This Ethics Thing, Anyway? Routledge, London, 2010. Print.
Judith F. Daar, Judith F. Daar, Judith F. Daar, “Human Cloning’s Prospects: Improving Nature or Endangering the Species? Pages. 1-90 in Seton Hall Law Review 33 (2003). Web.
Of the Principle of Utility
I. Nature has enslaved mankind to the rule of two sovereign masters: pain and pleasure.
as well as pleasure They are the only ones who can tell us what we should do.
as well as deciding what we’ll do. On the one hand, there is the right and wrong standard.
The chain of causes and effects, on the other hand, is connected to their wrongdoing.
throne. They guide us in all we do, say, and think: everything.
Any effort we make to break free from our enslavement will only serve to demonstrate that we are capable of doing so.
as well as confirming it In words, a man may claim to be against his empire, but in reality, he is not.
He will continue to exist in actuality. All the while, you’re subjected to it. The guiding principle
This subjection is recognized by usefulness, and it is assumed as the foundation.
of that system, the goal of which is to raise the fabric of happiness through the
Reason and the law are on our side. Sound is used by systems that seek to question it.
place of common sense, caprice instead of logic, darkness instead of brightness
But enough with the metaphors and declarations: it isn’t by chance.
Moral science is to be improved by such approaches.
The second principle is the principle of utility.
foundation of the current project: it will be necessary to begin by
give a precise and explicit definition of what it means According to the premise
The concept that approves or disapproves of every action is referred to as utility.
whatsoever. according to its apparent tendency to increase or decrease
or, what is the same, the happiness of the party whose interest is in dispute
To put it another way, you can either support or oppose happiness. I say this about every one of them.
action of any kind, and thus not just of a private citizen’s action
not only of the individual, but of all levels of government.
III. When we talk about utility, we’re talking about the property of any object that makes it useful.
It tends to create profit, advantage, pleasure, joy, or happiness in this way.
(In this situation, everything boils down to the same thing) or (what boils down to the same thing)
the same meaning) to keep harm, sorrow, misery, or unhappiness from occuring
if the party whose interests are being considered is the community
If it’s a general happiness, then it’s the happiness of the community; if it’s a specific individual, then it’s the happiness of the individual.
the individual’s contentment
IV. One of the most important considerations is the community’s interest.
general terms that can be found in moral phraseology: It’s no surprise that
Its meaning is frequently misunderstood. This is what it means when it has a meaning. The
The term “community” refers to a fake body made up of individuals.
are treated as though they were members of the group. The pursuit of
So, what exactly is the community?
the sum of multiple people’s interests
members who make it up
V. It is pointless to discuss the
community’s interest, without knowing what that interest is
of a single person Something is mentioned to pique someone’s attention or to be beneficial.
when an individual’s interest tends to add to the amount of his assets
pleasures: or, to put it another way, to reduce the total of his pleasures
VI. Then, an action is said to be conformable to.
principle of utility, or, for the purpose of brevity, to utility, (meaning with regard to utility)
to the community as a whole) when it has a proclivity to increase the pleasure of others.
Any attempt to undermine the community is futile.
VII. A government measure (which is only one of many)
a type of activity carried out by a certain person or group of people)
conformable to or dictated by the principle of utility, when the principle of utility, in turn, is conformable to or dictated by the principle of utility.
It has a stronger potential to improve the happiness of the community than
It has to be reduced in any way.
VIII. When an action, or more specifically a measure of action, is taken.
A man considers government to be conformable to the utility principle.
It could be useful to imagine a form of law or regulation for the sake of discussion.
command, sometimes known as a law or a utility directive: and to speak of the deed in
questionable as being compliant with such a law or directive.
IX. A man is said to be a partizan of the principle if he follows it.
when he attaches his approval or disapproval to any action, or when he attaches his approval or disapproval to any action, or when he attaches his approval or disapproval to any action, or when he attach
to any degree, is determined and proportioned by the inclination that he exhibits.
believes it must either increase or decrease the community’s happiness:
or, to put it another way, to its compliance or noncompliance with the rules or mandates of
Of the Four Sanctions or Sources of Pain and Pleasure
I. It has been demonstrated that a person’s pleasure is proportional to their wealth.
Individuals who make up a community, that is, their joys and interests.
The legislator’s only and ultimate goal should be to ensure security.
view: the one norm to which each individual should adhere, insofar as it is possible.
It is up to the lawmaker to force him to change his ways. But
There is something to be done, whether it is this or anything else.
There is no way to force a man to do it, except via pain.
or just for fun. After getting a bird’s eye view of these two massive objects (i.e.
pleasure, and what is essentially the same thing, pain immunity) in the character
It will be required to consider pleasure and suffering as final causes; it will be necessary to consider pleasure and suffering as final causes.
In the role of efficient causes or means, pain itself.
II. There are four distinct types of
Pleasure and pain are derived from the following sources: distinct considerations
They can be classified as physical, political, or moral.
and the religious: for insofar as the pleasures and pains of the religious are concerned
Each of them is capable of making any legislation or rule of law enforceable.
All of them can be referred to as sanctions.
III. If it is in this life, and it is out of the usual
Nature’s trajectory has not been purposefully altered by the interposition of these wills.
any human being, nor by the intervention of any superior
It is an invisible creature in which pleasure or suffering occurs or is expected.
may be said to emanate from or be a part of the physical sanction
IV. If it was at the hands of a specific individual or group of people
a group of people in the community who go by the same names as the judge,
are picked specifically for the purpose of dispensing it, in accordance with the intent of
It is possible to say that the state’s sovereign or supreme ruling power emanates from
the governmental sanction
V. If, by chance, you find yourself in this situation,
individuals in the society, as the party in issue may do in the course of
according to each man’s spontaneous nature, his life to be concerned with
It may be considered to arise from the absence of any settled or concerted rule.
the popular or moral
VI.If it comes from the invisible hand of a superior
It can be said to arise from somewhere, whether in this life or in the future.
the religious approval
Of Human Actions in General
I. Government’s job is to promote the common good.
society’s happiness through punishing and rewarding. That aspect of the company’s operations
Penal law, which consists of punishing, is the subject of this article. In
In proportion to the size of the deed, it tends to upset that delight.
Its poisonous tendency will be the demand for punishment it generates. What
We have already seen what happiness entails: security, enjoyment of pleasures
from aches and pains
II. An act’s general tendency is more or less
injurious in terms of the totality of its effects: that is, pernicious in terms of the totality of its consequences.
the difference between the sum of nice things and the sum of bad things
III. It should be noted that
Wherever consequences are mentioned now and in the future, such are the only ones that come to mind.
are intended to be used as a source of information. When it comes to the effects of any action, the
Variety and multitude must be endless, but only to the extent that they are.
It is worthwhile to consider the content. Now, among the consequences of a deed, whatever they may be,
They can only be viewed as such by someone who is acting as a lawmaker.
be considered material (or significant) because it consists of suffering or
discomfort or pleasure, or to influence the generation of pain or pleasure.
Cases Unmeet for Punishment
I. The overarching goal that all laws have, or should have
have in common is to improve the community’s overall satisfaction; and
As a result, in the first instance, to rule out, as much as possible, everything that
tends to detract from such delight, i.e. it excludes mischief.
II. However, all punishments are not equal.
is a blunder: all punishment is bad in and of itself. If, based on the principle of usefulness,
It should be admitted at all, but only insofar as it is necessary.
pledges to keep a greater evil at bay.
As a result, it is clear that in the following circumstances
Punishment should not be administered.
Where it is without foundation: where there is no reason for it to exist.
prevent; the act not being nefarious in general.
- Where it must be ineffective: where it is unable to behave in a way that is effective.
prevent the calamity
Where it is unprofitable or prohibitively expensive:
The harm it would do would be larger than the harm it would avert.