Utilitarianism Essay

666 WordsDec 16, 20123 Pages
This argument will examine John Stuart Mill’s position on happiness, and the reasoning behind it. It will be an attempt to critique the flaws in the Utilitarianism theory. John Stuart Mill suggests someone’s decision-making process should be solely based on the amount of happiness one can obtain. Although Mill fully justifies himself, his approach lacks definition for what happiness can be considered. Happiness should be judged, not only by pleasure, but by pain as well. The flaws the theory entails will reveal what should make up ethical decision-making. Mill defines utilitarianism as the quest for happiness. Pleasure is his main point for which one should base his/her judgments. He believes that a person should always seek to obtain pleasure. Utilitarianism also states that the actions of a person should be based upon the “greatest happiness principle”. The principle says ethical actions command the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people. Mill also states that some pleasures are more desirable than others. He explains that both quantity and quality are important when placing value on the amount of pleasure one can gain. He claims the pursuit of pleasure is directly related to happiness which is a fairly easy concept to accept. It is natural for a person to focus his/her goals on things that bring pleasure. There are apparently problems that exist with his theory of utilitarianism. Mill states all ethical decisions should be based on pleasure. Is pleasure really the sole requirement for happiness? Pain can indirectly affect happiness as well. Pain is an indirect factor because it is not the object of one’s happiness, but is an obstacle which one must overcome to gain happiness. If one does not feel pain in his/her life, then he/she may never truly know the feeling of pleasure. True pleasure comes only after experiencing pain. An example

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