What is Mill's utilitarian principle?

Essay by pebbles1 November 2003

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Utilitarianism is the ethical theory that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the basic moral principle that promotes utiliarianism. Mill's compares happiness with pleaure not all pleasures have equal value. The mind is adapted to higher pleasures than lower pleaures of the body. Higher pleasures are more valuable than lower ones. Learning things and helping others are more valuable than eating and drinking. One can decide which pleasures are more valuable by looking to the group of experienced observers.

The actions of the greatest happiness of the greatest number are right, it will promote. The foundation of goodness is the basic principle of ethics. Happiness counts equally of every attentive being that applies the principle. Intuitive view is based on ethics of self-evident principles. Mill argues that this doesn't give workable principles unless it appeals to utility.

Empirical evidence is the base of ethics and Mill's sees it as inductive view. Basically the good is reflected on our desires. The only way to tell that something is desirable is to note that it is desired, so also the only way to tell that something is visible is to note that it is seen. The only thing of genuine worth is the desire of pleasure and the absence of pain. We as people strive for individual happiness. Therefore, we ought to strive for the happiness of the group. The utilitarian principle proves as individual people and as a group of people we strive for happiness.