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John Stuart Mill

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John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill was born in London in 1806 and died in 1873. Mill was put through a very rigorous education by his father. At the age of fifteen or sixteen, Mill read a book by Bentham. This was when Mill started to come up with his idea of utility. A few years later, he started a small utilitarian society. After writing a good handful of other books, in 1863, (after first appearing in magazine form in Fraser's Magazine in 1861) Mill finished up his work on Utilitarianism. (UTM)

Mill's belief in the Utilitarianism was that happiness is the ultimate end. All humans want happiness and pursue it. There is only one main principle in life, and that is to maximize pleasure.

Mill also says that we need to treat humanity as an end in a way that they can concur with. (Foster) If someone does something wrong, they're punishment should equal the crime that they have committed. If a man steals money from another man, that money should be taken from him. If, for example, he breaks another's leg, his leg shall be broken. If he takes a man's life, his life shall be taken. Mill believes that this is the only justified way, known as the retributivist theory. This is actually respecting the criminal; giving them their just deserve. (Foster) We must treat all how we would want to be treated. We need to respect all humans.

Like any philosopher, there are arguments against Mill's teaching. Gainsborough argued against Mill's theory of happiness being the ultimate end. He says that we are all going to die at some point, so living forever can not be the goal of life. It is not possible to always be happy. The most you can do to be happy is to try and be less miserable and to minimize your unhappiness. (Foster) Life is full of ups and downs. These downs come from three primary causes according to Gainsborough, poverty, disease, and death. He says though that we can get rid of these "valleys" in life by planning our money, educating about diseases, and ending premature deaths. (Foster)

Aristotle also would have an argument against Mill's Utilitarianism saying that is a doctrine for the swine. Human beings want more than just happiness. There are also two types of pleasure that believers of utility need to understand; higher pleasure and lower pleasure. Higher pleasures are better than lower pleasures. They are less costly, safer, and more permanent. They are also better in quality. (Foster) Let's look at this from the perspective of today's society. Finding concert ticket on the street for your favorite artist would make anyone happy. But the happiness you would get from having that ticket and going to the concert would only be temporary. Let's say for example that the same night of the concert, you had a date scheduled with a girl or guy who you really liked. Unfortunately for you, she/he decided to take you going to the concert as a rejection to him or her. Then they never called you back nor went on another date with you again. On the other side, let's say that you go on the date with this guy or girl, and give the ticket to a friend who enjoys that artist even more than you. You are making your friend very happy by giving him that ticket, because they were sold out before he could buy one. So you go on that date, and have a really good time. The two of you go out again the next night. Four years later, the two of you are getting married and you found the love of your life. You may have risked that more permanent, higher pleasure, of love to go to a lower pleasure concert.

Ursula Le Guin was born in 1929 and has written many short stories and novels, one of which is The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. This is a story about a place called Omelas which is a society of sophisticated and happy people. Except for one thing, which is of great importance to those living in Omelas. Some of the people who see this thing end up leaving Omelas forever. (Le Guin)

The people of Omelas are always happy. They have parades all the time with horses and dancers. There was no status in this society. Everyone was seen as equals. "There was no king. They did not use swords, or keep slaves. They were not barbarians," wrote Le Guin. They were a very simple society. The only things allowed were those that were necessary. Anything else was seen as unnecessary and would not help in their happiness. The nudes just wandered about the streets, willing to offer themselves to whoever was interested. The children of these people were taken care of by all. The adults of this society were the parents of all the children. It was a happy place for all who lived there. There was that one thing though in their society, a child. The children of Omelas around the age of 10-years-old (or intellectually ready) were shown this child. Many adults also came to see this child, even though they've seen it multiple times. Those who could

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