Grand Canyon University: PHI-305 Ethical Thinking in Liberal Arts
Instructor John Wise
September 21, 2014
The Story of Ethics states that the point of the Utilitarian theory is to conceptualize exactly what is good life by “bringing about consequences of a certain sort that is the greatest happiness for the greatest number” (The Story of Ethics). The Story of Ethics also states that the Utilitarian principle of greatest happiness for the greatest number was first popularized by Jeremy Bentham who according to the Lecture Note “version of utilitarianism is known as quantitative utilitarianism” (Lecture Note). According to The Story of Ethics ...view middle of the document...
Although John Mill was influenced by the theory of John Bentham they help opposing views with regards to the way the value of different pleasures should be estimated. Bentham believes that only the quantity of the value should be taken into account that is the higher the number and the duration of the pleasure determine the value. While Mill on the other hand believes both the quantity and the quality of the value should be considered and with regards to the quality Mill believes that the simplicity or the complexity of the pleasure determines its value. According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Bentham takes his concept from David Hume’s view that utility is the measure of virtue. According the website Olev Bentham believed that the value of pleasure is determine by the circumstances of its “intensity, duration, certainty or uncertainty, propinquity or remoteness, fecundity and purity” (Olev). I understand that Bentham looked at the actual of the pleasure and the extent one went through to get it that is the number of persons affected in order to make a determination. However Mill believe some pleasures are superior to others and therefore requires consideration of its quality. According to The Story of Ethics Mill believed that of two pleasures the one that is more desired would have the greater moral obligation. Mill’s “judgment is that fully informed human beings who have experienced both kinds of pleasures prefer pleasure of the intellect to sensual pleasure” (The Story of Ethics). The understanding that I gain from Mill’s assertion is that it is better two know both sides of a pleasure or the pleasure itself and maybe its opposite in order to make a determination of its value.
The strength of Mill’s Utilitarianism in my opinion is that it would push humanity to strive for greatness, it requires to push for the greatest utility for any situation even though it might seem to go above and beyond. In my opinion...