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Essay example - John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism
Pages 3 (753 words)
John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873) was one of the most influential liberal thinkers of the 19th century. He was an advocate of utilitarianism, which states that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" ("The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy")…
Extract of sample
He argues that the principle of utility should be seen as a tool for promoting general happiness. Most of our actions, according to him, should be judged according to this principle. In his illustration of the utility theory, Mill thinks that we should appeal to the principle of utility only when we face a moral dilemma between two secondary principles. The basic assumption of the utilitarian theory, as advocated by Mill, is that "we should each act so as to promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people." These important ethical views of Mill can be applied in almost all fields of our lives. That is, a utilitarian advocate may judge any act or behavior according to the amount of happiness or sadness it will produce for the greatest number of people. While this seems a claim that would be approved by all people, the question that emerges here is: "who are the persons to whom the actions should promote happiness?" According to the utilitarian theory, in order for any action to be right and ethical, it should promote happiness to the maximum number of people involved (Cain). ...
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