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I will explore the polarizing relationship between utilitarianism and deontology I will begin by briefly summarizing Mills argument for utilitarianism and then I will provide criticism of Mills argument Ultimately I intend to demonstrate that Mills formulation of utilitarianism is a significantly flawed ethical philosophyBefore delving into Mills utilitarianism there are a few preliminaries that are important to establish for a greater understanding The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy deems utilitarianism to be hedonistic act consequentialism which just means the morally right act is proportionately dependent upon the total amount of happiness that comes from the act This term consists of two important theories hedonism happiness is pleasure and the absence of pain Mill p 597 and act consequentialism a morally right act is the act that maximizes the Good Mill contends that happiness is the greatest good and ultimate goal and therefore all other desires serve as a means to the greater desire of happiness or provide happiness themselves In Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill begins with the defining principle of utilitarianism the Greatest Happiness Principle Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness Mill p 597 This principle establishes that the determination of whether an act is right or wrong relies upon the degree of happiness it creates or doesnt create On the contrary non-consequentialist beliefs base the moral evaluation on the intrinsic value of an act not its consequence Mill makes a key a distinction that pleasure can be both quantitative quantity of pleasures matter andor qualitative quality of pleasures matter From these two standards of evaluation it logically follows that Mills determinant of happiness is the total aggregate of happiness Mill believes we should use empirics to predict the outcome of an action This important to consider and is often challenged as I will do later in this paper since utilitarianism a consequentialist theory and believes an action is right
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