John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism PDF: : Review and Summary

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Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill


Utilitarianism is a collection of a series of articles and essays written by the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. The purpose of this book was to put forward the principles and the theories surrounding utilitarianism.

The book divided into five main sections. Through the first two parts, Mill tries to outline the basic definition of Utilitarianism. The author attempts to provide evidence in favor of this theory and defend it against the criticism put forward by philosophers like Kant.

Also explained that there are two primary schools of ethical theory.

The second section begins with the author putting forward his ideas of the essential tool through which we can derive all the fundamental principles of the utilitarian theory.

Mill states that all actions that lead to happiness without discomforting others or causing any harm to them are considered reasonable and acceptable. On the other hand, joy at the expense of other’s comfort rejected as false and wrong.

Mr. Mill puts forward the argument that “The Greatest-Happiness Principle” need not be solely related to just one’s happiness but overall happiness altogether. Therefore, the ultimate goal here is the happiness of a more significant number of people.

Mill stresses the importance of education and urges people to develop an appreciation for the more delicate things in life such as art and music. He believes that a person can only contribute to the happiness of the society once he is content with himself.

Mill writes that doing well for those around us will help you see the world in a different light. By the third chapter, Mill addresses the many questions put forward by the skeptics of the utilitarian theory. He argues the role of a person in the society and tries to highlight the various incentives of utilitarianism.

Mill believes that this way of life teaches positive feelings in the society such as duty and sympathy. Mill also tries to address and fine tune some of the aspects of this theory put forward by utilitarians such as Jeremy Bentham.

By the end of the book, the author tries to prove and defend the “Greatest-Happiness Principle” because, in the end, it is only happiness desired. However, the means to it are also necessary and should not be at the expense of others.

Our actions should not be responsible for the “pain” of others. The book concluded by Mill’s defense of one of the most substantial objections to the utilitarian theory. The philosopher argues that the concepts of utilitarianism are incompatible with the modern idea of justice.

Mill rejects this claim and states that all the modern concepts of justice can be adequately explained and grasped through the utilitarian theory and principles.

Throughout the book, Mill tries to explain that true happiness can only achieve once the people shift their focus from their joy for the benefit of others. He argues that the essence of the utilitarian principle lies in the happiness of the most considerable number of people.

Review and analysis

Mill’s ethics depends, of course, on his anti-Manic conception of human nature and his ideas about the kind of relationships that produce well-being among men.

If there is a failure, perhaps it is to place oneself in front of the best in the human being, talk about it and how to empower it, omitting the darkest corners of human nature.

Its desire for slavery, unhappiness, its capacity for degradation and for procuring violence and harm to others, its selfishness.

But for the philosopher we are talking about, this is not a man, with capital letters, but a rational being degraded and vexed to subhuman situations.

Of course, Mill’s ethic is anthropologically optimistic, he thinks, like Rousseau, that man is by nature good, free and social, that these are the fundamental and inalienable characteristics that characterize him as a human being, which can degenerate these human capacities, degrading until its opposite, or develop without limit.

Those who think that human nature is monstrous and homicide, incest, and cannibalism are its basic instincts, like Freud, end up developing an ethic of repression instead of an ethic of life development.

Perhaps human nature is not as monstrous as Freud conceives it, nor as kind as Rousseau imagines it and finds that it is more subtle and less unilateral when morally qualifying Nature and Culture.

From a constructivist position it would be necessary to correct all these positions, the man is born as a tabula rasa, and he makes himself, within the broad margin of maneuver that allows his physiological constitution, nature not finished, nor culture, but instead they are what we build at every moment.

There is particular constructivism already in the hedonism of antiquity, as when Epicurus said to Menace: “We must remember that the future is neither ours nor not ours so that we do not expect it to be totally nor do we despair that it is not so.”

Certain constructivism perceived in Stuart Mill: The ideas that we have about man and culture will influence the permanent constitution and transformation of that which is the human being and that which is society or culture.

On the genetic relations between the utilitarianism of S.Mill and neoliberalism, it is necessary to clarify: “The critique of utilitarianism.

Must be done today, not thinking about its historical-philosophical formulation but faithful to its norm, its consequences, its fruits, which today we have in view in the conception of life, in the individual and the collective ideal of the so-called welfare society.

It is evident that the promotion of well-being, the raising of the standard of living of all, the complete satisfaction of their needs, etc., constitute the primary end of all reasonable ethics.

But the ultimate goal prescribed by an ethic, however intramundane, may be that each citizen owns, although acquired in installments.

A house, a car, a television, several radios, a refrigerator, a washing machine, other dishes, etc.; and next to this all the rights of social security, accidents, retirement, life.

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