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John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism and Pleasure. - Essay Example

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Utilitarianism is often summarized as “the greatest good for the greatest number” being used to calculate the moral correctness of an action, decision, or policy for both individuals and society on a common standard…

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John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism and Pleasure.

Utilitarianism as a guide to personal behavior can relate to both personal experiences of happiness or pleasure as a guide to conduct and a recognition of the greater good of society as a higher motivation for service. Consequently, the basis for moral action is described in Utilitarianism for both the individual and society. Utilitarianism, as posited by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) historically, has been criticized as being a “doctrine worthy only of swine,” because critics concluded that using pleasure or personal happiness as a criteria for universal morality would inevitably lead to selfishness, greed, base behaviour, and libertinism. However, what Mill’s reformation of Bentham’s theory clearly establishes is that humans can take happiness, pleasure, and joy from higher morality, ideals, and shared achievement in a way that equates Utilitarianism with a progressive and evolutionary vision leading to a better future for all humanity. One of the major ways that Bentham and Mill differed in their theory of Utilitarianism is that Bentham based his definition of ‘the good’ in a limited formulation of pleasure and pain that defined happiness objectively through the individual, but tended to reduce Utilitarianism to the principles of hedonism. ...
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