ssary to differentiate Mill’s definition and perspective of utility and justice from other definition and perspective of the word to make the answer of the question “Is Utility consistent with ‘Justice’?” to be consistent as intended by John Stuart Mill and understand that indeed utility is consistent with justice.
Utility or utilitarianism and justice is a philosophical and social construct defined by many philosophers and social thinkers. Utility or utilitarianism itself was not an exclusive idea of Mill but was also shared by Jeremy Bentham. Bentham first gave the idea of utilitarianism in his introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation in 1789. In his introduction, he proposed the “principle of utility” which later evolved and popularized as “the greatest happiness principle” as also adopted by Mills as the ideal guidelines in making decisions involving individual and society as a whole quoting “By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question1”. The “principle of utility is [also] open to the objection that it may well sacrifice the rights of the minority for the sake of the happiness of the majority2”. It follows then that Mill entertains the idea of expedience in his idea about utility for the sake of the happiness of the majority. John Stuart Mill did not only subscribed to this idea of Bentham but expanded its meaning as a collective nomenclature for society’s social utility which is necessary in fostering and protecting human liberty3 .
Mill recognizes that there exists a possible conflict between utility and justice and that it has always been “one of the strongest obstacles4” for utilitarianism to become totally acceptable. To reconcile this conflict, Mill proposes to approach the problem through a conceptual