Utility is the being important and useful or simply the usefulness of something. Mill defines it as the common good in societal welfare. He argues that one must act in order to produce the greatest happiness for the majority. This was his major contribution to utilitarianism. Two scholars however argue it out differently in the different forms of utility. According to Mill, the internal pleasures are more superior to physical. On the other hand, unlike Mill-Bentham treats both the internal and physical pleasures as being equal. He justifies himself that happiness is of more value than contentment.
Jeremy B. and John S. Mill argue that this is the theory for morality and economics. However, there are different types of utilitarianism but am going to focus on Mill’s argument on utility.
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“Jim finds himself in the central square of a small South American town. Tied up against the wall is a row of twenty Indians, most terrified, a few defiant, and in front of them several armed men in uniform. A heavy man in a sweat-stained khaki shirt turns out to be the captain in charge, and after a good deal of questioning, Jim is able to convince the captain that he got there by accident while on a botanical expedition. The captain explains that the Indians are a random group of the inhabitants who, after recent acts of protest against the government, are just about to be killed to remind other possible protestors of the ‘advantages’ of not protesting. However, since Jim is an honored visitor from another land, the captain is happy to offer him a guest’s privilege of killing one of the Indians himself. If Jim accepts, then as a special mark of the occasion, the other Indians will be let off. Of course, if Jim refuses, then there is no special occasion, and Pedro here will do what he was about to do when Jim arrived, and kill them all. Jim, with some desperate recollection of schoolboy fiction, wonders whether if he got hold of a gun, he could hold the captain, Pedro, and the rest of the soldiers to threat, but it is quite clear from the set-up that nothing of the kind is going to work: any attempt at that sort of thing will mean that all the Indians will be killed, as well as himself. The men against the wall, and the other villagers, understand the situation, and are obviously begging him to accept. What should he do?” (JJC Smart and Bernard Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against, 1973)
What would John Stuart Mill tell Jim to do, according to his theory of utilitarianism? Be clear in explaining Mill’s recommendation, and how he would justify it. In doing so, you must include a discussion of the following:
The Principle of Utility and how it would specifically apply in this situation—who gets “counted” and how?
What would Immanuel Kant tell Jim to do, according to his deontological theory? Be clear in explaining Kant’s recommendation and how he would justify it. In doing so, you must include a discussion of the following:
The first version of the Categorical Imperative and how it would specifically apply in this situation (hint, you have to say what the maxim would be and what duty would be generated according to it).
The second version of the Categorical Imperative and how it would specifically apply in this situation.
Explain one criticism of both Mill and Kant. Afterward, argue for which ethical approach, on your view is superior. Be specific and provide reasons for your claim.
Utilitarianism has been describes in different ways. Most of them have been accepted and are used to explain it. According to mills, “Utilitarianism comes from the word utility, or the existence of pleasure, that is- the absence of pain, as both the basis of everything that people desire, and as the foundation of morality.” He further argued that utilitarianism does not simply allow happiness to come to people by any moral standards! Utilitarianism for a layman is the greatest good for the greatest number.
For one to have attitudes of malice, every citizen will have the value of self over another. “Society, therefore, is in no way obligated to indulge him; on the contrary, it is fully permitted to suppress his actions.” Maclene (1993). Mill’s argument on utilitarianism is purely qualitative and not quantitative. The qualitative aspects that Mill accepts on account of happiness is presented in On liberty. He argues that, utility or the usefulness of a being is acquired as one develops till maturity. “The rejection of censorship and paternalism is intended to provide the necessary social conditions for the achievement of knowledge and the greatest ability for the greatest number to develop and exercise their deliberative and rational capacities.” Lyons (1994).
Mill gives different responses toutilitarianism. He says that it is a critique and not unique. Basing morality on the general good beats logic for commonsense situations. But again basin it on morality of the good, appreciation of the individual fails. This should give the best reason to argue that morality should be a personal issue. He says that we should sacrifice happiness if it will only yield better happiness. Some ambiguity comes out that utilitarianism is the basic and core foundation of morality!
The meaning of happiness is partially expounded on the basis that utilitarianism can give room for happiness. The fulfillment of the desires depends on motivation for any action. This statement links psychology and philosophy. In psychology it is based upon the descriptive make up upon human beings. The fact that humans behave in a particular manner does not necessarily mean that we should behave that way. We should consider which is the best behavior we can do. In order to be justified, we should look at what many people share or otherwise love most.
Utilitarianism can generally be based upon what other people think on anything in it relation. Or otherwise you can accept the various arguments put forward by various scholars and philosophers or bar with them. This is because utilitarianism is very diverse and broad.