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John Mills: Happiness and Mill's Utilitarianism

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Happiness is a concept that exemplifies the American dream. People go to any means by which to obtain the many varied materials and issues that induce pleasures in each individual, this emotion remain the ultimate goal. John Mills correctly advocated the pursuit of happiness and maintained the concept that above all other values, pleasure existed as the final destination. This is a natural human tendency and Mill’s Utilitarian arguments strongly support the theory that above all else, happiness is the most important dream to be fulfilled. Utilitarianism as an ethical theory based on consequences and happiness is a justified moral theory.

The main defender of the Utilitarian system exists within the Greatest Happiness Principle. This principle supports the idea that a decision is morally correct as long as it increases and encourages pleasures and happiness. Consider an example of a seemingly happy married couple. The wife in this couple is madly in love with her husband, fiercely loyal, and completely happy with her marriage and children. The husband, however, has wrongfully strayed, had a brief but damaging affair beyond his wife’s back. By revealing the secret of the past affair, the woman’s happy world would be instantly shattered. Her pride would diminish, her stability would fall apart, and the children would be forced to view a nasty side of their beloved father. The husband is no longer acting unfaithful and the family can easily continue to live happily if the secret were kept. Under the Greatest Happiness Principle, the wife should not be informed since happiness truly lives as the ultimate in human desires, sparing immense amounts of pain truly is the logical choice and all those involved remain happy. Although autonomy is often a favorable feature, it does not overshadow the importance of happiness.

Opponents to the philosophical viewpoint of Utilitarianism state that followers of this belief system often promote an ignorant lifestyle. They maintain that those advocates of the Greatest Happiness Principle believe in the theory that “ignorance is bliss”. Displaying an example that “ignorance is bliss” is a faulty statement; here is an issue of AIDS. A Utilitarian could rightly argue that being aware of the disorder could increase long-term happiness, for treatments and support from friends and family could greatly aid the victim’s fight against his ailments. A Utilitarian would also support the notification of the disorder to the victim in order to spare others of contracting the virus. An unknowing HIV carrier spreading the disease to other defenseless individuals would not increase the happiness of the majority; Utilitarianism clearly is not an ignorant way to live if you look at it in terms of this example.

Without happiness, the other opportunities and necessities lose nearly all levels of importance. A true Utilitarian support only those concepts that promote the highest levels of pleasures, and encourages only those actions that promote real happiness. Utilitarianism allows for the emotional side of life but requests only that the Greatest Happiness Principle be followed. Any truly decent human being naturally follows such a request every day and decisions are made based on the greatest level of happiness. If the greatest level of happiness is achieved, the largest majority of people benefit.

The ethical theory based on consequences and happiness of Utilitarianism makes a lot of sense to me. Looking at what creates the most amount of happiness is justified moral thinking. There always will be some pain but in the long run it will be justified with a larger degree of pleasure. People everyday deal with pain that comes from hard work, dedication and perseverance and the outcome of the pleasure is much sweeter.

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John Mills: Happiness and Mill’s Utilitarianism. (2018, Jun 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
“John Mills: Happiness and Mill’s Utilitarianism.” GradesFixer, 16 Jun. 2018,
John Mills: Happiness and Mill’s Utilitarianism. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
John Mills: Happiness and Mill’s Utilitarianism [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Jun 16 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from:
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