Mill and Justice- Philosophy

Essay by ashpash360College, UndergraduateB, May 2012

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Mill and Justice

In Mill's chapter five (The connection between justice and utility) Utilitarianism he focuses on the idea of what makes an action just? However, before one must understand the meaning of Utilitarianism (Utility) to fully grasp the concept of justice. The definition of Utilitarianism is " An ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary." ( As we discussed in class, the Principle of Utility is "An action is right if and only if it brings more pleasure, overall for all the people effected by it". In chapter five, Mill discusses the concept of Utility, yet somehow is able to incorporate the idea of just or unjust actions through justice. Going back to Mill's theory of "What makes an action just" or what makes an action wrong? Both of these have to do with the Rule con conduct, or the rule of sentiment.

As we have discussed in class, "An action is just if and only if it is right and it doesn't violate someone's rights."

Mill begins the chapter by talking about a few examples of actions that are universally or widely characterized as just or unjust. The first example that he gives is " It is usually considered unjust to deprive anyone of his personal liberty." (30) Although, Mill does continue to say that they're exceptions to this. If these rights were "deprived" from someone, maybe these rights shouldn't have been given to the person who claimed were taken away in the first place. On the contrary, some people believe that "…all laws that are inexpedient are unjust"(30) (inexpedient means morally right). In the end, Mill says that it can be agreed on "There can be unjust laws; so law is not...