Utilitarianism: Bentham V. Mill

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The concept of utilitarianism has the ability to be seen from many different viewpoints. While Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are two of the greatest believers in utilitarianism of our time, they seem to clash on many issues, such as whether certain concrete things are required in order to achieve true happiness, or whether the concept of happiness is more of a grey area and if one is willing to achieve happiness, he or she should merely live life by his or her own values and rules. Bentham seems to agree with the latter and believes that all pleasures are equal, and if one enjoys something, no one should tell that person otherwise whether he or she is living life right or wrong. On the other hand, Mill seems to endorse achieving the highest pleasures only, specifically those of high intellectual caliber, as he believes that human pleasures would be very similar to those of animals if Bentham’s theory was correct. Also, Mill believes that society’s moral standards would decline if lower quality pleasures were pursued. While I believe that both theories have their own pros and cons, I believe that Bentham’s idea of utilitarianism is more reasonable in modern society. Everyone in this world is different and some people have different interests and pastimes than others, and as I stated earlier, if one is content with their life and sees no reason to change it, who should tell him or her otherwise? Mill’s theory makes some sense when the fact that some pleasures are more intellectually stimulating than others is taken into consideration, but not everyone has those types of interests, and not allowing people to choose interests that suit them best would cause them suffering, leading to the decline of society as a whole. In conclusion, while Mill has a good point in stating that society’s standards would increase if certain pleasures and fields of study were
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