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Title of the Book:

Contemporary Moral Problems Seventh edition by James E. White

Book Review Chapter:


John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism

Quote:
“Happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness pain and the
privation of pleasure” PAGE 34 by John Stuart Mill.

What I expect to learn:


• What is the meaning of Utilitarianism?
• What is the theory about Utilitarianism?
• What are the concepts used?

Review:
John Stuart Mill wrote about the Utilitarianism, about the basic principles, principle of
utility, and the hedonistic principle. John Stuart says the theory about objections for the
principle of utility. His book was about Happiness, unhappiness, pain, pleasure, virtue,
and satisfaction. He differentiates it and explains it, what does it mean. John says that
“Happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness pain and the
privation of pleasure” PAGE 34, that happiness is the source of human satisfaction and
pleasure. That without happiness, pain will fill in our body. He told the “theory of
morality is grounded that pleasure freedom from pain is the only things desirable as ends”
PAGE 35. John said that a higher being does not want to have a lower level of pleasure,
the higher of being the higher pleasure he or she wants while the lower the beings the
lower pleasure he or she wants. These only means that lower beings are easy to be
satisfied. If I’m not mistaken I also read a part of the book that says that in order for us to
tell which one the 2 choices are better is by experiencing it both. These means that we
must know first the both choices for us to tell which is better than the two. Lastly John
talks about virtue. That “virtue is not the only thing, originally means, and which if it
were not remain indifferent, but which by association with what it is means to comes to
be desired for itself, and that too with the utmost intensity” PAGE 39. These means that
what is whatever we desire, it there is always a reason behind it.

What I learned:
I’ve learned that there are higher and lower pleasure that exist. That for me it depends on
the situation which h is better that two. I’ve learned that the principle of utility has been
shown wrong/ reverse. That happiness must be cost by you and affect others as well .
Integrative Question:
• What is Utilitarianism?
• What is the Principle of Utility?
• What is the meaning of Virtue?
• What is the difference between happiness and pain?

Review Questions:
1. State and explain the Principle of Utility. Show how it could be used to justify
actions that are conventionally viewed as wrong, such as lying and stealing.
• The principle of utility “holds that action as they tend to promote
happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse happiness” PAGE
34. for lying example is literally wrong, lying does not do anything good,
even if the person means to not the feelings of others. For me lying cannot
be justified as right.

2. How does Mill reply to the objection that Epicureanism is a doctrine worthy only
of swine?
• Mill does not agree that Epicureanism is worthy for a swine because he says
on the book that “ the comparison of the Epicurean life to that of the beasts is
felt degrading, precisely because a beast’s pleasures d onto satisfy a human
being’ conceptions of happiness” PAGE 35.

3. How does Mill distinguish between higher and lower pleasure?


• Mill distinguish the higher pleasure and lower pleasure by saying that the
higher pleasure higher being does not want to have a lower level of pleasure,
the higher of being the higher pleasure he or she wants while the lower the
beings the lower pleasure he or she wants. These only means that lower beings
are easy to be satisfied. If I’m not mistaken I also read a part of the book that
says that in order for us to tell which one the 2 choices are better is by
experiencing it both.

4. According to Mill, whose happiness must be considered?


• Happiness must be considered by the people who have experienced by the
most people, has the right to criticize on which is better.

5. Carefully reconstruct Mill's proof of the Principle of Utility.


• Mill's proof of the Principle of Utility is that people who desire to have a
happiness is to have pleasure in their life to satisfy their needs and wants.
Discussion Questions:

1. Is happiness nothing more than pleasure, and the absence of pain? What do you
think?
• For me happiness is the most important thing of all than pleasure because
for me once your are happy for me it’s a long term and for pleasure its
only for a short period of time and once your satisfied with that pleasure
then you seek again for another one.

2. Does Mill convince you that the so-called higher pleasures are better than the
lower ones? What about the person of experience who prefers the lower pleasure
over the higher ones?
• I think that the the higher pleasure is not contented even he or she already
have the pleasure, the higher pleasure seek for more. While the lower pleasure
once he or she experienced it he or she is contented already. For me it depends
on the situation. For me it depends on the situation.

3. Mill says, “In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit of
ethics of utility.” Is it true or not?
• For me it maybe true because it also links by doing a good thing to other
people.

4. Many commentators have thought that Mill's proof of the Principle of Utility is
defective. Do you agree? If so, then what mistake or mistakes does he make? Is
there any way to reformulate the proof so that is not defective?
• It think that Mill’s only defective statement, is that everybody is the same and
have the same satisfaction or happiness. They may have similarities on some
but not all are the same.