This week’s reading was over John Mill’s views on utilitarianism, also knows as the “Greatest Happiness Principle.” His reading was interesting to read, and reminded me of some previous readings we have done.
People often times get utilitarianism misunderstood as the opposition to pleasure, but is actually defined as the absence of pain, therefore, it is in itself… pleasure. Mill believed that people’s decisions depicted whether they brought happiness or not — “good” decisions obviously always bring us true pleasure and happiness. He believes we should desire to have happy lives, and the only way to do so is to make the right/good choices.
Another criticism that he touches on is that the meaning of life shouldn't be revolved around pleasure. Mill claims that human pleasures can cause us to see our higher expectations, and will go lengths to see that they aren’t changed. He goes on to say that there are some pleasures more valuable than others, so we must take into account the quality and quantity of them when making decisions.
Mill also goes on to differentiate between the different kinds of pleasures and their affects on our happiness. He writes that people with higher “faculties” or sense of pleasure, are often dissatisfied because they have felt the restrictions and sadness of many different levels of pleasure. He gave the example, “it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.” Why would it be better to be dissatisfied? Well, the difference between the human and the pig, is that the human has been able to experience many levels of pleasure. Because they know and have experienced this wide range of happiness, they could feel unhappy, but compared to the pig they have felt greater pleasure in the past.
I believe that Mill’s outlook on achieving pleasure and happiness is somewhat hard to understand, but overall, makes total sense. I always find myself coming back to the phrase “happiness is bliss” when reading these philosophies on finding happiness. People who haven’t experienced the limitations of the world will feel a totally different level of pleasure compared to someone who has seen all walks of life — so their perception and expectation would be different. Mill understands that everyone is on different spectrums of life, thus their decisions achieve their own level of their happiness in life.
|Due By (Pacific Time)
||10/25/2015 11:00 pm