close
test_template

Are Utilities The Base of Morality: Literary Analysis of Mill's Argumentation

About this sample

About this sample

close

Words: 498 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jan 4, 2019

Words: 498|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jan 4, 2019

Mill describes how utilities are the basis for morality. He describes this as the greatest happiness principle, saying that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong in proportion as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (Mill 5). By linking actions to happiness, Mill links happiness to morals. He believes something is good, or moral, if it makes people happy, and bad, or immoral, if it makes people unhappy. In addition, Mill clarifies that happiness can mean pleasure or lack of pain, and unhappiness can mean pain or a lack of pleasure. This is important because it includes things in life that might not be seen as pleasurable or unpleasurable, so it eliminates any gray area. Mill further defines pleasurable and free of pain as “things that are desirable as ends” (Mill 5). By defining everything as desirable or not, there shouldn’t be any gray area left.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Mill’s principle of greatest happiness seems to fit with our idea of reality because it’s simple. It’s easy to classify anything as desirable or not, so it turns the complicated task of defining morality into an easy one. In general, most people would agree that morals are desirable, so Mill suggests anything that’s desirable must be moral. On the other hand, this could be a flaw in Mill’s principle as well, similar to the Euthyphro dilemma: Is something desirable because it’s moral, or is it moral because it’s desirable? Mill asserts the latter. Another problem with Mill’s principle could be that it ignores the fact that the theory is dependent on the individual, because some people may have different ideas or perspectives when it comes to what’s desirable and what’s not. I’ve said that it’s easy to classify things as desirable or not, but different people may classify things differently.

One criticism of Mill’s theory is that it reduces the human mindset to that of a pig; if we act only in a way to gain pleasure, then we’re no better than swine. Mill responds that humans do act in a way only to gain pleasure, but our sense of pleasure goes much beyond that of a pig. He says, “the accusation implies that human beings are capable only of pleasures that pigs are also capable of” (Mill 5). Because humans can desire things such as nobility of virtue and to live a fulfilling life, we maintain an existence that is not comparable to swine. Even though humans and swine both desire pleasure, our ideas of pleasure are much more that wanting food and rolling in mud.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

I believe Mill’s reply to this objection is convincing because I agree with his position that the argument overlooks the type of desires humans have. Comparing the fact that humans and swine both act on desires is not a valid comparison because those desires are different. Mill focuses on intellect and feelings of imagination, which cannot be compared to swine, making the objection invalid.

Image of Dr. Oliver Johnson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Are Utilities The Base of Morality: Literary Analysis of Mill’s Argumentation. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/are-utilities-the-base-of-morality-literary-analysis-of-mills-argumentation/
“Are Utilities The Base of Morality: Literary Analysis of Mill’s Argumentation.” GradesFixer, 03 Jan. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/are-utilities-the-base-of-morality-literary-analysis-of-mills-argumentation/
Are Utilities The Base of Morality: Literary Analysis of Mill’s Argumentation. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/are-utilities-the-base-of-morality-literary-analysis-of-mills-argumentation/> [Accessed 13 Jun. 2024].
Are Utilities The Base of Morality: Literary Analysis of Mill’s Argumentation [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 03 [cited 2024 Jun 13]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/are-utilities-the-base-of-morality-literary-analysis-of-mills-argumentation/
copy
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled

close

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

    close

    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts

    close

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

    close

    Thanks!

    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

    clock-banner-side

    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    exit-popup-close
    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now