John Stuart Mill Greatest Happiness Principle Essay

Essay about Utilitarianism: The Greatest Happiness Principle

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Utilitarianism was first brought up along the nourishing of “The Greatest Happiness Principle” introduced by Jeremy Bentham and further developed by John Stuart Mill, who was a follower of Bentham (Sweet, 2013). Based upon its principle, Utilitarianism states that to be good is to generate the greatest possible amount of happiness for the greatest number. In contrast with rational egoism, Utilitarianism focuses more on maximizing the overall net happiness of the majority. When facing a decision to make, utilitarianism provide us the evaluations of actions taken based upon their consequences (Sweet, 2013). By weighing the consequence, the model often produces more practical results.
Since Utilitarianism judges the decision by weighing the…show more content…

In the case of the doctor and patient scenario, act and rule utilitarianism might provide you different moral guidelines. An act utilitarian will say that lying is good because it protects the patient and his family from heartbreaking at the moment and the greatest amount of happiness is generated during the process, while a rule utilitarian would say that lying causes more harm. Making decisions according to the predicted consequences gives us the opportunity to foresee what the best option is. Moreover, when dealing with a dilemma a utilitarian considers everyone equally important. In this way, the methodology of utilitarianism often generates the best results for the benefits of the majority which corresponds to “The Greatest Happiness Principle” (Hooker, 2011). This is one of the reasons that concepts of utilitarianism are generally accepted and applied during the passing of a government policy or statement of law in the form of majority vote. As a result of this, people would be willing to follow rules.
Nevertheless, absolute utilitarianism does not exist nowadays. The conditions required to apply true utilitarianism are extremely limited. This is mainly caused by the conceptual idea of utilitarianism. Since the theory evaluates the success of an action based on the amount of happiness brought about by it, it is crucial to define what happiness exactly is. Thus, it comes to

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Utilitarianism: Greatest Happiness Principle Essay

Utilitarianism, originally introduced by Jeremy Bentham and extended by John Stuart
Mill, (Mark Timmons, 2006) is an ethical theory which states that to be good is to deliver the
greatest amount of happiness to most of the people based on the consequences of the action.
Utilitarianism considers the good for the majority is the final solution rather than everyone
severing only their own interests. Utilitarianism mainly focuses on the possible consequences of
a decision. When facing more than one option, utilitarianism allows you to judge what is right
and wrong by weighing the outcomes of the actions according to the “Greatest Happiness
Principle” (John Stuart Mill, 1861) that is to achieve the greatest amount of happiness for most
people. (Michael Vlach, 2012) In utilitarianism, there is only one right solution. A utilitarian
would consider only the action which generates the most possible net happiness to be right and
the others to be wrong even there is more than one way of benefitting the majority. (Stephen O
Sullivan and Philip A. Pecorino, 2002)
Utilitarianism is based upon the mechanism of consequentialism. It is one of the subfield
of consequentialism and it coexists with perfectionism. Under utilitarianism, there are two
branches, which are act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. (Mark Timmons, 2006) Each of
them has a different guideline to follow. Act utilitarianism pays more attention to the
consequences of a single action. Nevertheless, rule utilitarianism looks in the long-term
aftermath from the result of following a rule of conduct under certain circumstances whenever it
happens. (Sullivan & Pecorino, 2002) When dealing with a dilemma, act and rule utilitarianism
may produce us different results. For instance, if lying to someone could protect the feeling of
them, is it morally right to lie? An act utilitarian might say lying is good because it protects the
feeling of that person and greatest happiness is generated by the action. However, a rule
utilitarian would believe lying causes more harm. (Sullivan & Pecorino, 2002)
The theory of utilitarianism prefects the moral guideline and relieves the distinct defects
of Egoism. Utilitarianism brings the largest quantity of net happiness to our society as it
considers whatever action maximize happiness to most people is good. (John Stuart Mill, 1861)
Since utilitarianism takes the consequences into consideration of decision making, it allows us to
foresee the outcomes and decide what we really want and what steps we take would best satisfy
our extrinsic or intrinsic values. In this way, the decision and the action severs better for us
because it corresponds directly with our needs. This offers us moral criteria for telling what is
right or wrong to do. (Sullivan & Pecorino, 2002)...

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