As if you were reading: Utilitarianism by Stuart Mill

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Ethics is the system of our behavior. Almost everything we do is an application of what we believe ethically, even if it is unconscious. Therefore, moral theory is a central point in every philosophical system. Reformers and philosophers have been trying for thousands of years to build a moral theory that will best explain and guide our behavior. Utilitarianism or utilitarianism has tried and is trying to in turn answer our many questions about ethics and is still faced with many objections and criticisms. This theory is old, partly defended by Protagoras, adopted and pursued by Epicurus, and the interpretations have continued through the centuries. John Stuart Mill is considered one of the most important theorists of utilitarian philosophy. To learn more about this theory, in this article we present the most important book on utilitarianism, which is the book Utility by John Stuart Mill.

School struggle:

Mel divides moral philosophical schools between presumption and inductive reasoning, both of which agree that the morality of individual action is not concerned with direct perception, but is concerned with the application of the law to a particular individual case. Mill adopts the two schools’ sharp adherence to general principles of morality. Intuitionism emphasizes the existence of a priori moral principles, while inductive reasoning emphasizes the existence of general principles revealed through experience. Both schools are based on a metaphysical foundation. Therefore, Mill believes that all general principles, including the principles of mathematics, are a kind of illusion. Far from general principles, Mill says that the rules of moral conduct must take their character and color from the goal they serve to achieve.

What is utility theory?

Since its inception, utility theory has become ridiculous by its critics, who believe it focuses on pure pleasure in its worst animal form. Mel refutes this belief. Pleasure does not mean surrendering to immediate physical pleasure. The same thoughts, feelings, imaginations, and moral feelings are of greater value than pleasure arising from pure sensation, and that utilitarianism elevates the status of spiritual pleasure as compared to physical pleasure. Therefore, the theory of utility does not stop at pleasure, but finds that the human goal is happiness and pain relief.

The happiness for which utilitarianism aims does not mean selfishness, that is, the happiness of the individual, even at the expense of the happiness of others. It is rather the opposite. Mill says that happiness, which represents the utilitarian measure of what is good in relation to behavior, is not the subject’s own happiness, but is related to the happiness of all. The utilitarianism rather goes further, as it is the highest virtue to sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of the happiness of others.

Utilitarianism as a universal ethic:

Mill believed that the world’s deadliest phenomena such as disease and poverty could be eradicated. With the development of science and health education, the field of disease can be endlessly reduced, and through the wisdom of society, poverty can be permanently eradicated.

Utilitarianism is optimistic about the future, because human nature is subject to change and correction, and experience over the centuries has taught us much about good behavior. Therefore, the nature of people and the surrounding environment can be improved by directing their behavior towards virtuous purposes Three Topics in Epicurus Philosophy

happiness and satisfaction:

There is physical and mental enjoyment, the latter undoubtedly more difficult than the former. This is because the owner of the highest faculties requires a lot to achieve the desired happiness and is usually stressful or difficult to achieve. He can therefore take bodily pleasure to make up for it. Therefore, the one who seeks the worldly pleasure has a greater chance of attaining the desired satisfaction. Elevated feelings are in most nature a very soft and easy to perish plant.

But the preference for one pleasure over another is mainly due to experience, and the person who has not experienced the virtuous pleasure will prefer the immediate pleasure, and the environment and education have a great impact on the person’s preferences. , but the one who experiences both will prefer spiritual pleasure.

Utilitarianism is not an ascetic philosophy. It does not deny the fact that there are different tendencies in the individual. He does not always aim for high pleasure. Rather, he has the right to seek others as well, and that is part of our nature.

Action or motive:

Immanuel Kant believes that the moral is the motive and not the action, so lies, whatever the result, are evil. Mill, however, looks directly at the act, even unwanted behavior, if it leads to a good result, it is good. Saving a person from drowning from money or fame, for example, is a moral act, because the individual is not held responsible for his intention, but for his actions and the effect of the action.

Utilitarianism and religion:

If the sincerity of the belief that God above all desires the happiness of his creatures that was his purpose to create them, utilitarianism would not be a theory without God, but a religious theory in its depths.

Benefit ethical fines:

Every moral law is a law that binds me to others, that is, morals define our relationship with them. For the observance of every law there must be a deterrent or an authority, whether that authority is divine or human. The moral utility theory is based on two powers, namely internal and external authority:

External power:

All divine and man-made laws that punish a person and reward him for his behavior. People desire and command everything that others will do to them and where they think their happiness will increase.

internal power:

Every individual has a moral sense, which is the essence of conscience, as Mill says, but this sense or conscience does not fall outside human nature, but rather the outcome of human experience in the world and with others. Child experiences, religious sensitivities, our love, sympathy and appreciation for others and ourselves, and everything we experience, form what we call a conscience. If we make a mistake, this conscience will make us feel remorse, because we have learned that such a mistake harms our interest and our happiness and the happiness of others, and utilitarianism rejects the existence of another hidden power behind our moral stuff. As for a person who has not received a good education, he will feel no guilt if he makes a mistake, and this situation forces the presence of an external authority to discipline the behavior.

Utility certificates:

Every theory is obligated to provide its evidence for the validity of its statements. For utilitarianism, it assumes that something is desirable because people actually desire it. Our proof that something can be seen is that people can really see it. According to Mill, happiness is all one desires and nothing else. Happiness is the end of action and also the measure of morals.

For theories that say virtue is the end, utilitarianism recognizes that virtue is part of happiness, and that it helps us to have more happiness and less pain. Some other things can also turn into goals after they were means, money, fame and power, for example, were in the beginning a means of achieving the goals that turned into goals in themselves.

To understand this part, it is necessary to explain it according to the theory of classical conditioning Money, for example, has no value, but when it helps us to achieve our goals, it automatically turns into a goal, because it produces the same feelings which produces our ends, but if money fails to achieve our happiness, money will lose its value, and this condition is called extinction.

Utility and Justice:

Mel will explain the concept of justice in language, according to which the word justice in the beginning meant the way of doing it and then came to mean the way it is ordered means the authorities to implement it. Mill says of this: “The original idea in shaping the concept of justice was the conformity of the law.”

sense of justice

Mill wonders if the sense of justice is as pure as the sense of color and other pure feelings, whether it is a blessing of nature, a natural feeling. According to Mill, the two basic components of a sense of justice are the desire to punish the person who did the harm, and the belief that a certain person or persons did the harm, and the desire for revenge is an automatic one. reaction that arises. from two types of natural feelings: self-defense and empathy. Empathy with others and developed intelligence help a person to achieve common interests. Mill says about this that the sense of justice is the animal’s desire to take revenge for the transgression committed on himself or those with whom he is sympathetic.

Free will:

Man is the result of his external and internal environment. Poor education, for example, will create criminals. As far as the internal environment is concerned, the presence of diseases can force a person to commit crimes, so severe punishment is not justified as long as a person is not responsible for his moral formation, so justice should not in turn be criminal, but it should rather be affirmative.

Social justice:

Although utilitarianism is linked to the worst forms of capitalism, we find that in his socialist tendency he does not mean scientific socialism (communism), but socialism in a general sense. It is this tendency that has also caused him family problems. dad always hated socialism. In his view, fairness requires that the rich be paid according to their income.

He speaks of justice as a legal guarantee of the rights of all without any exception. A just law is one that protects everyone’s interests. We are in a natural connection with all people, and this commitment is a moral document and the remnant of the greatest evil. The law must enjoy impartiality and equality and society as a whole must treat all individuals absolutely well.

Also read Philosophy of Ethics: The Nature of Moral Judgments and How to Interpret It

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