Greatest Happiness Principal + Mill

Topics: Utilitarianism, Morality, Pleasure Pages: 2 (490 words) Published: November 5, 2007
According to Mill, people who believe in Utilitarianism are often asked to justify the calculus of the philosophy. Objectors of Utilitarianism argue "that there is not time, previous to action for calculating and weighing the effect of any line of conduct on the general happiness." (Mill 23) A brief overview of Mill's Utilitarianism concept is best described as the "Greatest Happiness Principle" (Mill 7) that states: you must always act to achieve "the greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people." (Mill 17) For Mill, happiness is defined as "pleasure and the absence of pain." (Mill 7) Therefore the objectors of this philosophy feel they cannot follow Utilitarianism because when faced with everyday choices they do not have the time to sit and weigh the positive and negative consequences of their actions. And not being able to do so might result in an act that does not benefit the Greatest Happiness Principle. Thus not going with the Utilitarianism concept. Mill believes that the people who feel this way might as well be saying that they cannot practice Christianity "there is not time to read through the Old and New Testaments on every occasion." (Mill 23) Stating that people cannot call themselves Christians if they do not apply the Christian morals to every single situation they are faced with. However Mill's rebuttal to the objections of Utilitarianism is this: you should use history as your quick guide to lead your actions. Throughout history other people have experienced similar, if not completely akin, situations as you. Time after time, people have learned that the inclination to do something is "dependent on all the prudence as well as the morality of life." (Mill 23) Experience is a cognitive learning process; meaning it displays reason and judgment. You gain knowledge through experience and if not your own experience than that of your forefathers. You have to be cultivated to know what to do in situations where you cannot take the time to...
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