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InternationalJournalofPhilosophyStudy(IJPS),Volume4,2016www.seipub.

org/ijps
doi:10.14355/ijps.2016.04.003

MillsCritiqueofBenthamsUtilitarianism
AbdulLatifMondal
ResearchScholar,DepartmentofPhilosophy,AligarhMuslimUniversity,Aligarh,India
Email:latif09pyb12@gmail.com

Abstract
MillsfamousessayUtilitarianismtobeginwithanalmostistrueofthehedonismofBentham.Firstandmostimportant,itis
Mills unwillingness to accept the Benthams view holding that all pleasures are qualitatively on a par. On the contrary, Mill
argues, we must differentiate between higher and lower pleasure. Utilitarianism, the ethical doctrine that the good of any
actionistestedbyitscontributiontotheresults,especiallyhumanhappiness.Itshouldbefocusedonwhatbringshappinessto
thegreatestnumber.Ittriestoproverationalandscientificfoundationformorality.Rationalbasedoncalculation,andscientific
isbasedonobservation.Benthamthinksanactionisrightifitproducesthegreatestamountofpleasureratherthanpain.Mill
thinks an action, if only it conforms to generally accepted rules, creates most pleasure for most people. Bentham considers
quantitativepleasure,andMillconsidersqualitativepleasure,notjustquantitativepleasure.
Keywords
BenthamsUtilitarianism,MillsUtilitarianism,Qualitative,QuantitativeApproach

Introduction
JeremyBentham
According to Bentham, nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters pain and
pleasure. So it is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as what we shall do.1 In his book
Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Bentham says, that a motive is substantially nothing
morethanpleasureorpainoperatinginacertainmanner.Themotiveisalwayssomepleasure,orsomepain.Some
pleasure of the act in question is expected to be a means of producing; some pain is expected to be a means of
preventing.Therefore,accordingtoBentham,pleasureandpainaretheonlypossiblemotivestoaction,theonly
endsofwhichwecanaim.
Similarly, J.S Mill says Desiring a thing and finding it pleasant, aversion to it and thinking of it as painful are
phenomenaentirelyinseparable,rathertwopartsofthesamephenomena;tothinkofanobjectasdesirable,andto
think of it. As pleasant, they are the same things; to desire anything, except in proportion as the idea of it is
pleasant,isaphysicalandmetaphysicalimpossibility.2J.S.Millclaimswealwaysdesirethatpleasureistheonly
objectofourdesire.
EthicalHedonism:accordingtoEthicalHedonism,weoughttoseekpleasure;itistheproperobjectofourdesire.
Manyhedonistsbaseethicalhedonismonpsychologicalgrounds.BenthamandJ.S.Milldoso.ButSdgwickrejects
psychologicalhedonismandadvocatesethicalhedonism.Accordingtohim,pleasureisthereasonableobjectofour
desire.
AccordingtoAltruistichedonismuniversalorgeneralhappiness,thegreatesthappinessofthegreatestnumber
is the ultimate moral standard. Jeremy Bentham and J.S. Mill both advocate this view. But Bentham advocates
quantitative pleasure while Mill advocates qualitative pleasure. This view is called utilitarianism. This theory
judgesallactionaccordingtoutility.
GrossorQuantitativeUtilitarianismofBentham:
Dimensionsofpleasure:Benthamsaysthatthevalueofpleasuresisquantitative.Butquantityhasmanyforms.It
hassevendimensionsofvalue.1.Intensity2.Duration3.Proximity4.Certainty5.Purity(freedomfrompain)6.
Fecundity(fretfulness)andthelast7.Thenumberofpersonaffected.
Psychological Hedonism:Bentham isan advocate of psychological hedonism.He says,Nature has placed man

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undertheempireofpleasureandpain.Weowetothemallourideas;werefertothemallourjudgmentsandall
the determination of our life. His object is to seek pleasure and shun pain. The principle of utility subjects
everything to these two motives. Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters,
painandpleasure.3Itisforthemalonetopointwhatweoughttodoaswellastodeterminewhatweshalldo.4
Bentham argues that as we do desire pleasure, we ought to desire pleasure. His ethical hedonism is based on
psychologicalhedonism.
Hedonistic Calculus
Inhedonisticcalculus,hesaysweighpleasuresandweighpainsandasthebalancestands,therewillstandthe
questionofrightandwrong.Here,themainquestionisofrightandwrong.Accordingtohim,ifanactiongives
more pleasure than pain, then it is right. If an action gives us more pain than pleasure, then it is wrong. Here,
rightnessstandsforpleasurablenessandwrongnessstandforpainfulness.
GrossUtilitarianism
Benthamsutilitarianismmaybecalledgrossorsensualisticorquantitative,becausehedoesnotholdqualitative
differencesamongpleasure.
1)

Altruism

Benthams hedonism is altruistic, because he takes into account of the extent of pleasure, i.e. the number of
persons affected by it. If a pleasure is shared by many persons, it has a great extent and as such it is to be
preferred to a pleasure that can be enjoyed by only one person. Thus Bentham by introducing extent as a
dimensionofpleasureintroducesmorepleasureformorepeopleasthemoralstandard.
2)

Egoism

AlthoughBenthamisanadvocateofaltruistichedonism,heclearlyrecognizesthenaturalegoismofman.He
saysToobtainthegreatestportionofhappinessofhimselfistheobjectofeveryrationalbeing.Everymanis
nearerofhimselfthanhecanbetoanyothermanandnoothermancanweighforhimhispleasureandpains.
Hehimselfmustnecessarilybehisownconcern.Hisinterestmust,tohimselfbetheprimaryinterest.5
3)

MoralSanctions

If we look at Benthams account from egoism to altruism, he had seen to have given four external
sanctions:physicalornaturalsanction,politicalsanction,socialsanction,andreligioussanction.Theynaturally
operatebythepleasureorpain,thestate,thesocietyandgod.
JohnStuartMill
JohnStuartMill(18061879),thesecondutilitarianeducatedathomebyhisfather,isaprominenteconomistand
memberofthephilosophicalradicals.Infact,theyusedyoungMillasakindofguineapigonwhomtheycouldtry
outsomeoftheirnovelpedagogicaltheories.
TheinfluenceofBenthamisclearlyapparentbothinthecareerandinthethoughtofMill.Throughouthislife,Mill
devotedhimselftoprogramsforsocialreform,carryingonthetraditionofthephilosophicalradicals.Hisessayon
Libertyisaclassicdefenceoftherightsoftheindividualagainstsociety.Mill,likeBentham,foundinhedonistic
ethicsatheoreticaljustificationforhispoliticalviewsandpractices.
However,hisfamousessayUtilitarianismcommenceswithanalmostreaffirmationofthehedonismofBentham.
YetMillwasfarfrombeingamereslavishdiscipleofhistutor.Firstandmostimportant,itisMillsunwillingness
toaccepttheBenthamsviewholdingthatallpleasuresarequalitativelyaspar.Onthecontrary,Millargueswe
mustdistinguishbetweenhigherandlowerpleasure.Hemakesthedistinctionintheoftenquotedpassage,Itis
better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool
satisfied6.ThefactthatthefoolandthepigenjoymorepleasurethanSocratescannot,Millbelieves,offsetthefact
thatthequalityofSocratespleasureisalmostinfinitelyhigherthantheirs.
Millisineffectabandoningthehedonistictheory.OnthequestionofpsychologicalhedonismMillbothagreesand

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disagreeswithEpicurusandBentham.Althoughhebelievesthatweareabletodesirethingsotherthanpleasure
virtuesforexample,hemaintainsthatindoingsowemustconsiderthesethingstobeapartofpleasure,hencein
desiringthemwereallystilldesireonlypleasure.
WemaysummarizeMillsaccountofutilitarianisminthefollowingfivestatements.Theseare:

Theonlythingwhichwecandesireispleasure.

Theproofofthisisthefactthatpeopledoactuallydesireit.

Pleasureorhappinessofhisorherownpersonisgoodtothatperson.Andgeneralhappinessisgoodto
everyone.

Mendodesireotherobjects,buttheydesirethemonlyasmeansofpleasure.

If one of two pleasures is preferred by those who are related with both pleasures, we say that preferred
pleasureissuperiorinqualitytotheother.

Utilitarianismisateleologicaltheory,whichstandsforthemorepleasureformorepeople.InBenthamsphrase,
oneshouldseekthegreatesthappinessofthegreatestnumber.Bycontrast,ethicalegoismisateleologicaltheory
wherepleasureistheonlythinghavingintrinsicvalue.BenthamandMillwerehedonists;therefore,theirviewof
utilitarianism was that performing all those actions which would maximize pleasure for as many people as
possible.
Therearethreekindsofutilitarianism:(i)Actutilitarianism(ii)Generalutilitarianismand(iii)RuleUtilitarianism.
1)

ActUtilitarianism

First,thereisactutilitarianism.Itholdsthatingeneraloratleast,whereitispracticable,oneistotellwhatis
rightorobligatorybyappealingdirectlytotheprincipleofutility.Inotherwords,whatproducesthegreatest
balanceofgoodoverevilintheuniverse?ItisaformofutilitarianismassociatedwithBenthamthattreatseach
moralsituationasuniqueandeachactisdeemedtoberightorwrongbasedontheconsequencesitproduces.
Onemustaskwhateffectbydoingthisactinthissituationwillhaveonthegeneralbalanceofgoodoverevil
notwhateffecteveryonesdoingthiskindofactinthiskindofsituationwillhaveonthegeneralbalanceof
good over evil.7Generalizations like Telling the truth is probably always for the greatest general good, or
Telling the truth is generally for the greatest general good.8 may be useful as guides based on the past
experience,butthequestionisthattellingthetruthinhiscaseisforthegreatestgoodornot.
2)

GeneralUtilitarianism

Thesecondkindofutilitarianismisthegeneralutilitarianism.Itholdsthatoneisnottoaskineachsituation
whichactionhasthebestconsequences,butitdoesnottalkaboutrules.Accordingtogeneralutilitarianism,one
isnottoaskwhatwillhappenifIdosoandsointhiscase?orwhatwouldhappenifeveryoneweretodoso
andsoinsuchcases?9Theideabehindgeneralutilitarianismisthatifsomethingisrightforonepersontodo
in a certain situation, then it is also right for anyone else who is similarly situated to do, and hence that one
cannotasksimplywhateffectsonesproposedactionwillhaveinaparticularcase.Onemustratheraskwhat
the consequences would be if everyone were to act likewise in such cases. This view has been best stated by
M.G.Siegen?TheGeneralutilitariansfinalanswermustbeanappealtotheprinciplethatifanactionisright
formetodoinmysituation,thenitisrightforeveryonetodowhoissimilarlysituatedinrelevantrespects.
3)

RuleUtilitarianism

It is a rather different view of utilitarianism based on general principles or rules of behaviour. It is a view
associated with J.S. Mill. Rules like respect the property of others or do not steal would help to keep the
principleofthegreatesthappinessforthegreatestnumber.Sotheyshouldbeobeyed.Theactofutilitarianism
mayallowrulestobeused,butifhedoes,hemustconceiveofarulelikeTelltheTruthasfollows:Telling
thetruthisgenerallyforthegreatestgood.10Bycontrast,therulemustconceiveofitthus:ouralwaystelling
thetruthisforgreatestgoodorthusItisforthegreatestgoodifwealwaystellthetruth.11Thismeansthat

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accordingtoRuleutilitarianismitmayberighttoobeyaruleliketellingthetruthsimplybecauseitissouseful
to have the rule, even when in the particular case in question, telling the truth does not lead to the best
consequences.
UtilitariantheoryadvocatedbyBenthamreceivedseveralattacksbyothercontemporaryphilosophers.However,
herethemostimportantoneisMill.Milltriestosaveutilitarianismbygivinghisownversionofthisdoctrine.Mill
wasnotsohappywiththetypeofutilitarianismgivenbyBentham.Heholdsthattherewerecertainproblemsin
Benthams ethical theory which must be removed. Only by removing those difficulties can we make a perfect
utilitarianismtheoryacceptabletoall.Therefore,hetriestoreformandrefineBenthamsutilitarianism.Hetriesto
puthisownethicaltheory.Likeotherhedonists,Millholdsthatpleasureistheultimategoalorendoflife.He
saysutilitarianismfocusedonthefactthatmanwantspleasureandhealsowantstoremovepain.Thisistheonly
desirable thing. If any other things are desirable that will only be a means to the promotion of pleasure and to
removepain.
Actions are judged to be right and wrong on the basis that they tend or do not tend to produce happiness and
reducepain.So,hereMillagreescompletelywithBentham.ButMillalsodifferedfromBenthamvitally.Bentham
did not offer any strong proof, whereas Mill put strong real proof for utilitarianism. The only proof capable of
being given that an object is visible is that people actually see it, and is that people hear it; and so of the other
sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend the sole evidence that it is possible to provide anything
desirablethatpeopledoactuallydesireit.12
Millfurthersaysthatpeopleactuallynotonlydesirepleasure,butalsotheyneverdesireanythingselse.Itisafact
thatvirtuewhichisdesiredbypeopleisonlyawayofattainingpleasureoverpain.Now,ifitisso,thepleasure
mustberegardedastheultimateend.Millsaysthatvirtueisnotsomethingwhichisdifferentfromhappiness.Itis
apartofhappiness.Millholdsthatvirtueisadesiredinstrumentforhappinessitsownsake.Butifitissodesired,
desireisapartofhappinessandnotdifferentfromthedesireofhappiness.
ItmaybesaidinthisconnectionthatMillisahedonistifheacceptsanythingasthefinalobjectofdesireotherthan
happiness.Bysayingthatvirtueisapartofhappiness,Milljustexplainsit.
Mill affirms utilitarianism by offering a psychological proof. His proof is, however, somewhat fallacious. Mill
identifiedtheworddesirewiththegoodasendinitselfButthiswasincorrect.Millisconfusedontheuseofthe
word desirable. The mistake in Mills proof is very obvious. It seems surprising how Mill wrote standard text
book on logic. About Mills proof, Moore remarks: Mill has, then, smuggled in, under the cover of the word
Desirabletheverynotionaboutwhichheoughttobequiteclear.
Further,Millattemptstoshowthatallmendesirepleasureandavoidpain.Thepleasureandfreedomfrompain
are the natural object of desire. We desire pleasure naturally and we avoid pain also naturally. In other words,
Millsargumentpassesfrompsychologicalhedonismtoethicalhedonism.LikeBentham,Millalsocommitsfallacy
here. Sedgwick remarks: No cogent inference is possible from the psychological generalization that the agents
pleasureandpainsaretheuniversalmotives,totheethicalprinciplethathisowngreatestpleasureisforeachthe
ultimatenationalend.13
Mill was not so happy with Benthams view that pleasures were different only in quantity. According to Mill,
quantitybeingthesame,thepleasureofascientistcannotbeequatedwiththoseofadebauch.Somepleasuresare
superiorandsomeareinferior.Millthusadvocatestheviewthatpleasuresweredifferentbothinthequantityand
quality.Hegavemoreimportancetoqualitythantoquantity.AccordingtoMill,itisnotcorrecttosaythatPush
pin is good as poetry. Mill therefore, introduced qualitativedistinctions in pleasures. According to Mill,human
beingsarehigherthananimalsbeings.Millholdsthatthementalpleasureishigherthanphysicalpleasure.He
holds that with the principle that some kinds of pleasure are more desirable than others it cannot be said that
pleasures should be supposed to depend on quantity alone. Mill recognizes the kinds of pleasure or qualitative
differenceamongpleasures.Hereaquestionmayarise:whatdoesthedifferenceofqualityinpleasuremeansor
whatmakesonepleasuremorevaluablethananother?Millsays,qualitativedistinctionamongpleasures,isthat
some pleasures are higher than others of their quantity. It is not the quantity but superiority which makes one
pleasure different from the other. Now, the question is that which of the two pleasures is better than the other?

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HereMillsaysthatonlythosewhohaveexperienceofbothwouldbecompetenttodecidetheissue.Iftheyprefer
theone,thencertainlythepreferredoneisregardedhigher.Further,somepleasuresaresointrinsicallysuperior
thattheyoutweighanyquantityofotherpleasures.Millsayshumancreatureswouldconsenttobechangedinto
any of the lower animals for a premise of the fullest allowance of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest
allowanceofbeastspleasure.ItisbettertobeaSocratesdissatisfiedthanapigsatisfied.Itisbettertobeahuman
beingdissatisfiedthanapigsatisfied.14
However,sometimeitisseenthatthoughmenhavecapacityforhigherpleasure,theychoosethelowerones.But
intrinsic superiority of higher pleasure cannot be denied. For instance, even though men know that health is a
greatergoodthanenjoyment,theysometimespursuesensualenjoymenttotheinjuryofhealth.Butaccordingto
Mill,thesearenotdonevoluntarily(willingly).Mandoesnotvoluntarilychoosethelowerpleasureinpreference
tothehigherone.Accordingtohim,capacityfornoblerfeelingsisthetenderest.Therefore,itcaneasilybekilled
bybadinfluences.Itdiesspeedilyinthemajorityofyoungerpersonssincetheoccupationswhichtheirlivesare
devotedtoandsocietyinwhichtheyarethrownarenotfavourablefortheexerciseofhighercapacities.Further,
people having no time and opportunity for their higher aspirations and intellectual taste addict themselves to
inferiorpleasures.Andthisisnotbecausetheydeliberatelypreferthem.Itisbecausetheyareeithertheonlyones
which they have access to or they are only ones which they are capable of enjoying. According to Mill, it is
questionablewhetheranyoneequallysusceptibletobothwouldpreferthelower.
Thus,byintroducingqualitativedistinctionsinpleasures,Millhopedthathewouldreformtheutilitariantheoryas
advocatedbyBentham.Hethoughthewouldremovetheinherentdefectsinlattersethicaltheory.Butitappears
Millhasnotsucceededinhismission.Whileremovingonedefecthebroughtinanother.JohanLairdremarksin
thisconnections,ItissometimessupposedthatthisdoctrineisoneofMillsacuteandhonourableinconsistencies
oneoftheinstanceinwhich,settingouttosupportthedoctrinesofhisfatherandhisfathersfriendsheelaborates
intheirplacesomethingricherbutpassingstrange;andtheoryapartthedoctrinehasbeendeclaredtobeeither
downrightimpossibleoratleastinconsistentwhathedonism.15
Now if pleasure is the sole good and if it is really pleasure that is desired, there should not be a distinction or
preferenceamongpleasures.Ifpleasureistoberegardedastheultimategoal,thenqualitativedistinctionshould
betheonlyrelevantconsideration.Thatistosay,ifpleasurediffersonlyinquantityandifitisaskedwhichofthe
twopleasuresismoredesirable,theanswershouldbegivenintermsofintensityofdurationonproductivenessof
theonecompassedtotheother.Ifpleasureistheonlything,weowetoothers,thenitisitsquantityonlyandnot
itsqualitywhichwemustconsider.16
Again,whenMilltalksofpleasureasmoreorlesspreferable,hedoesplacethecriterionofrightnessorwrongness
ofanactsomewhere.Hehasthentoleavehedonism.Here,onepleasureismoredesirablethananother.Because
something not of its nature is pleasurable, but because of some other quality that it possesses beyond its
pleasantness.Janetobservesthatif,onthecontrary,yousayoftwopleasuresthatoneisinitself,andbyitsown
nature better than the other, then there must be something aside from the pleasure itself which gives one this
superiorityovertheother.
Thus,webelievethatbyintroducinghisqualitativedistinctioninpleasureMillhasnotsucceededinrefiningand
reformingthedoctrineofutilitarianism.Letustakeanexample:onepersonisreadingagoodbookandanother
personislisteningtoagoodmusic.AccordingtoMillhowcanwedecidewhichofthetwopleasuresissuperior?
Millsaysthatinsuchcasetoseekadviceofaskilledjudge,thereisnoanswertotheobjectionraised.Inanswering
theobjections,Millultimatelyleaveshisownfield.So,inspiteofhisbestefforts,Millhasnotmateriallyimproved
theposition.
ComingtothecentralpointofMillsutilitarianismnamelythegreatesthappinessofthegreatestnumber,hedid
notdiffermuchfromBentham.LikeBentham,Millalsowasagreathumanitarian.Hewasalsointerestedinthe
promotionofthegeneralhappinessofsociety.ButMillwasnotpreparedtogothewholehogwithBentham.Since
hewasquiteawareofthechargeofegoismbroughtagainstBenthamanditwasheldbymanyBenthamstheories
which did not provide a satisfactory motive for obeying the utilitarian rule, Mill, therefore, attempted to give a
morecomprehensiveaccountofthetheory.

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Millalsosaysitisthegreatesthappinessofthegreatestnumberthatisultimatelydesirableandthattherightness
andwrongnessofactsaretobejudgedbyreferencetoit.Theendforthesakeofwhicheverythingisdone,isnot
theagentshappiness,butthegreatestamountofhappinessaltogether.Millsupportshisviewbyaproofwhere
Bentham accepted the formula the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Mill offers the following proofs:
Noreasoncanbegivenwhythegeneralhappinessisdesirableexceptthateachpersonsofarashebelievesitto
beattainable,anddesireshisownhappiness.However,beingafact,wehavenotonlyalltheproofwhichthecase
admitsof,butallwhichitispossibletorequire,thehappinessisgood;thateachpersonshappinessisgoodtothat
personandthegeneralhappiness,therefore,itwillbegoodtotheaggregateofallpersons.17
But though by offering this proof, Mill has been able to reform the theory: his proof suffers from two fallacies,
namelythefallacyofcompositionandthefallacyofdivision.Millsargumentisthis:
a.

XshappinessisgoodtoX,YshappinessisgoodtoY,ZshappinessisgoodtoZ,therefore,happinessofX,
Y,andZisgoodtoXYZ.Theargumentisfallacioussinceherewepassfromdistributivetocollectiveuse
oftheterm.Millsargumentmisconceivesthefactthatpleasurecanbemadeintoanaggregateinthesame
waywhereabuildingisanaggregateofbricks.Thisargumentisinvalidwiththefallacyofcomposition.

b. Thegeneralhappinessisgoodtotheaggregateofallpersons.Therefore,thegeneralhappinessisgoodto
eachperson.Suchanargumentisinvalidwiththefallacyofdivision.ThefallacycommittedbyMillwas
putforthbyMoorhead,thusthisisasthoughoneweretoargue,thatbecauseeachpigdesiresforhimself
the greatest amount of happiness and a limited quantity of pigs, each necessarily desires the greatest
quantityforeveryotherorforall.
InthebookUtilitarianism,Millsaysthatonesownhappinessorthatofmanycannotbearationalobjectofhuman
life.Pleasureisultimatelyimpossible.Mencandonothingwithouthappiness.Renunciationisthefirstconditionof
allnoblenessofcharacter.Millpointsoutthatthisdoesnotdifferusfromutilitarianposition.Evenifhappinessis
supposedtobeimpossible,theavoidanceofunhappinesswouldstillremainanobjectwhichismadeofutility.
Thereisnodenyingthatinlifetherearemanyevils.Theymustberemovedifmankindistoliveinthisworld.The
utilitarianwhomaintainhappinesstobetheendoflifedoesnotusethetermhappinessinthissense.Millhimself
saysonthemomentsofsuchanexistencemadeupofafewtransitorypain,manyandvariouspleasureswitha
decidedpredominanceofthewholearenottoexceptmorethanlifethanitiscapableofbestowing.
A life thus composed to those who have been fortunate enoughto obtain it,hasalways appeared worthy of the
nameofhappiness.Andsuchanexistenceisevennowthelotofmanyduringsomeconsiderablepositionoftheir
lives.
Ineveryproperlybroughtuphumanbeingthereisaninherentelementforthegoodofothers.Heholdsthatpublic
affectionisimportantforsatisfactorylife.Naturally,thelifeofthosewhohavenosocialaffectionsinthemwould
beveryunsatisfactory.Lifewouldhavenocharmforthem.Butthosewhohavecultivatedfeelingswouldretain
interestinlife.Thus,selfishness,accordingtoMill,istheprincipalcauseofunsatisfactorylife.
According to Mill, there are manyinstances wherepeople havesacrificed theirlives for happiness of the others.
Millsaysthat.Theutilitarianmoralitydoesrecognizeinhumanbeingsthepowerofsacrificingtheirowngreat
good for the good of the others. It only refuses to admit that sacrifice is itself good. A sacrifice which does not
increaseortendtoincrease,thesumtotalofhappiness,itconsidersaswasted.18
Forthenearestapproachtotheidealperfectionsofutilitarianmorality,Millsuggestedtwoways.Thefirstkindis
thatutilityshouldenjointhatthelawsandsocialarrangementshouldplacethehappinessofeveryindividualin
thesocietyonitsagenda.Theobjectmustbethehappinessofthewhole.
Thesecondkindofidealperfectionofutilitarianmoralityisthateducationandopinionsshouldbesousedinthe
mindoftheindividual,andthathisownhappinessandthegoodofthewholeareattainedtogether.Thehappiness
oftheindividualisnottobeopposedtothegeneralhappiness.
However,whetherpeoplealwaysactoutofregardforhappinessofothersisadoubtfulpreposition.
Millholdsthatthereisnomoralstandardwhichjudgesanactiontoberightorwrongonthebasisofthegoodness

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orbadnessofpersons.AccordingtoMill,theperformanceofagoodactionisonlyproofofthegoodnessofaman.
Thus, the consideration of quality is irrelevant to the estimation of actions but of persons. Mill again and again
comestothesameconclusionthatmenhavefriendlysocialtendencies.Theyhavenaturalattractiontowardsthe
generalhappiness.Menfindtheirowngreatestpleasureinthepleasureofothers.AccordingtoMill,inmanthere
is a feeling that everyone is an integral part of the society. This is what Mill called internal sanction. Bentham
alreadypointedoutcertainexternalsensationswhichledmentoworkforothers.Butthesesanctionsarenotmoral.
Mill therefore added as internal sanction the friendly felling in every individual. This sanction would be really
ethicalandmoral.AccordingtoMill,actionsareoftendoneoutoffearofpunishment.Ifmanseeksthepleasures
ofothersduetotheforceofsomeexternalcauses,thequestionofblameandmoralresponsibilitywouldbecome
irrelevant.Theexternalsanction,therefore,accountsforhowwebehave.Moralityisamatterofheart.
AccordingtoMill,theinternalsanctionisaninternalfeeling.Apainmoreorlessintenseisalwaysattendanton
violation of duty. This is the social feeling of mankind. Mill regards the social feeling more necessary and most
natural.Exceptinsomeextraordinarycircumstance.
One agrees with Mill that man is not exclusively selfish. But it is difficult to agree with him that every man
possesses inherent interest for the happiness of others. Mill argues that since man desire his own happiness, he
oughttodesirethehappinessofothersalso.Butweseethatifeachmandesireshisownhappinesshewouldnot
necessarilydesirethehappinessoftheothers.Thishewilldothisonlyifhisownhappinessisinvolved.Nowso
longthisidearunsinhismind,hewouldbesaidtoactfriendlytodesireothershappinesssinceonlyhecansecure
hisowninthatway.Thiswouldactoutofselfinterest.
Millbelievedinthegradualgrowthofsympathyforthehappinessofothers.Therewillbenoconflictbetweenthe
goodofoneindividualandthatofanother.Butthisispossibleonlyifwecouldhypostatizethecommunityand
treat it as an individual. But community is made up of units separating feelings and actions from one another.
Furtherevenweaccept,accordingtoMill,themenhaveadvancedtowardskindlyactorbenevolence,itcannotbe
maintainedthattheconceptsofmensidealcompletelychange,soastoidentifyallgoodnesswithkindness.
AgainMillholdsthatanindividualshouldworkforthewelfareandenlightenmentofsociety,thoughitseemsthat
thepromisedissolveswhenwetakeacloseviewofthisduty.Letustakeanexample.AmancalledJohnwokeup
inthemorningandaskedhimself:whatIamgoingtodoformycountryswelfaretoday?Ifithappensthatthe
countryisinneedofengineers,whetherJohncangoonefinemorningandbuildabridgeorconstructamachine
whichotherwiserequiresyearsoftraining.Therefore,themostadvisablecourseforJohnistotraintillheacquires
sufficientproficiency.ButsupposethatJohnisnotgoodatmathematicsandhehatesarmylife.Thenactuallyhe
willproveaburdenratherthanassettohiscountryandhewillhavewastedhisyearswhenhetrained.
Underthiscircumstance,whatispreferableisthatJohnshouldchoosetheprofessionforwhichheismostgifted.
Hewillbemuchbetteratajobhelovesforitsownsakeandregardlessofitsultimateusefulness.Itseemstousa
poor excuse if a man says no better of his lifes employment than it is useful. In this connection Pepita Haezahi
observes certainly nothing great or lasting is achieved in this beneficiary which is wrought by and ought to be
creditedtomenwhohadfollowedtheirnaturalgiftsthedutytohumanitydefeatsitselfquaduty.19
To those who object to the utilitarian principle on the ground that man has no sufficient time to calculate and
weightheeffectsofactions,Millanswersthembypointingoutthatitwouldbelikesayingthatsinceonehasno
timetoreadtheBiblewhichcannotguideonesconductontheprincipleofChristianity.Buttheobjectioncannot
be so easily disposed of. However, we turn back to our main points. We cannot compare the pleasantness and
unpleasantnessofdifferentpersonsofthecommunity.20
Conclusion
MillscritiqueofBenthamismainlyanchoredonhisemphasisonqualityofpleasures.ForBentham,itisquantity
ofpleasurethatcountsasacriterionofjustifiabilityofagivenaction.Itistheintensity,fecundity,immediacyand
extent of pleasure which decide our execution and appropriation of a given action. Mill, on the other hand,
underscoresthequalityofpleasure.Quantitativedimensionsofalternativeactionsremainthesame,wemustbe
guided by the considerations of quality of pleasure while committing ourselves to one of the alternatives. While

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Bentham and Mill both were hedonists, the former is designated as a quantitative hedonist and the latter is
designatedasaqualitativehedonist.Both,ofcourse,wereutilitarianunderliningthecriterionofthegreatestgood
ofthegreatestnumberofpeople.However,hereMillagain,wouldemphasisethequalityofpleasureorhappiness
availableoraccessibletopeopleacrossthespectrum.So,whileBenthamisanunqualifiedhedonistorutilitarian,
Mill is a qualified hedonist or utilitarian. Benthams pure hedonism or utilitarianism is drastically qualified by
Millsemphasisonqualityofpleasures.Inviewofthesame,Millhasbeenaccusedoftrespassingthejurisdiction
of hedonistic ethics. By the emphasis on the quality of pleasure, he has watered down the applicability of the
hedonistic criterion. For, emphasizing the quality of pleasures, he has proliferated numerous unanswerable
methodologicalquestionsofabidingrelevance,includingwhatdowemeanbythequalityofapleasure?Orwhat
isthequalityofpleasure?Whoistoauthenticallyandcompetentlydecideonthequalityofapleasure?Howis
onepleasurequalitativelysuperiortoanotherpleasure?etc.Furthermore,Millhaswatereddownthedemocratic
orientation of Benthams hedonistic calculus. With the introduction of the criterion of quality, Mills qualified
hedonismissaturatedwithelitismandevenauthoritarianism.
More importantly, both Bentham and Mill will perennially face the deontological standard advanced by Kant
before the advent of their utilitarianism in nineteenth century. For Kant, an action is ethically justified of as it is
inspiredbyoursenseofduty.Thegoodorbadconsequencesofanactionareessentiallyirrelevanttotheethical
justificationofanaction.Amorallawisacategoricallyimperativeandwehavetosubmittoitbutirrespectiveof
pleasureorpain,profitorloss,empowermentordisempowermentemanatingtherefromorthereof.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I express my sincere and hearty thank to my guide Prof. Jalalul Haq, the Head, the Department of Philosophy,
AligarhMuslimUniversity,andalsothankstoMyparents,Dr.SanaullahMir,SKNajimul&Mahamuda,Faizan
Ahmed,ShamimAktarMunshi,Md.QutubUddin,ArupMondal,ChittranjanDeyandwhoinspiremeinwriting
ofthispaper.
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Madhumita,P.(2013).Philosophy.SeventhEdition,NewDelhi,115.

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[13] Mackenzie,John.S.(1929).AManualofEthics.Sixthedition,London,168.
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About Author
Mondal,AbdulLatifwasbornatBurdwannearKolkata,India.HeisaresearchscholarintheDepartment
ofPhilosophy,AligarhMuslimUniversity,Aligarh(U.P)India.HisfieldofspecialisationisPhilosophy
ofMind.PresentlyheisworkingonRussellsPhilosophyofNeutralMonismforhisPh.D.programme.
HehasbeenparticipatinginvariousNationalandInternationalseminarsandconferencesheldatAligarh
MuslimUniversityandotherIndianUniversitiesaswell.HehasmadepresentationsonSufiPhilosophy
and Philosophy of Religion at the seminars held at Department of Islamic Studies and Faculty of
Theology,AMUAligarhrespectively.

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