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John Stuart Mill 1808-73 believed in an ethical theory known as utilitarianism There are many formulation of this theory One such is Everyone should act in such a way to bring the largest possibly balance of good over evil for everyone involved However good is a relative term What is good Utilitarians disagreed on this subject Mill made a distinction between happiness and sheer sensual pleasure He defines happiness in terms of higher order pleasure ie social enjoyments intellectual In his Utilitarianism 1861 Mill described this principle as followsAccording to the Greatest Happiness Principle The ultimate end end with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable whether we are considering our own good or that of other people is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain and as rich as possible enjoymentsTherefore based on this statement three ideas may be identified 1 The goodness of an act may be determined by the consequences of that act 2 Consequences are determined by the amount of happiness or unhappiness caused 3 A good man is one who considers the other mans pleasure or pain as equally as his own Each persons happiness is equally importantMill believed that a free act is not an undetermined act It is determined by the unconstrained choice of the person performing the act Either external or internal forces compel an unfree act Mill also determined that every situation depends on how you address the situation and that you are only responsible for your feelings and actions You decide how you feel about what you think you sawImmanuel Kant 1724-1804 had an interesting ethical system It is based on a belief that the reason is the final authority for morality Actions of any sort he believed must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason and no action performed for expediency or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as
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