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Mill's Utilitarian Essay

519 words - 3 pages

Are You Happy?
According to John Stuart Mill, what does it mean to act rightly or be good? Mill states how people are inclined to act rather than how they should act. He states in his essay written in 1861, Utilitarianism, “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of pleasure.” Mill proves by this statement that we act in a certain way because of the greatest happiness principle; however, I am not convinced that is the way that people should act or the best way to live a moral life.
Mill believes that people act ...view middle of the document...

I agree that people tend to act that way; however that is not the moral way that people should behave. There is no rational connection between happiness and morality. The simple truth of the matter is that a behavior or action that makes a person happy is not sufficient in establishing that the behavior or action is morally accurate.
Just because something makes one person happy does not make it morally correct. Would Mill suggest that it is justified to kill an innocent person to make the majority of the people happy in a murder case? In a rural town in North Carolina, there is a mass murderer on the loose. The terrified citizens want an arrest to be made. To calm the nerves of its citizens, the police pick a person at random and prosecute him in front of everyone by hanging him in the street. The police made a decision that was detrimental to one person, but based on Mill’s utilitarian belief, the most essential concern is that the police made the rest of the citizens happy. It is my opinion that the police did not make a morally correct decision. It is honestly wrong to murder an innocent person. When a person takes his own interpretation of utilitarianism to increase the happiness of the greatest number of people and justifies an action that they make based on Mill’s argument, is troublesome. What is the argument? Do you believe that utilitarianism? Do you? Do you believe that utilitarianism is a way of the present that disregards the outcome in the future as long as the majority is profiting? The utilitarian view is neither the way that people should act nor the best way to live a moral life. It is not the best way of life.

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