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Utilitarianism - John Stuart Mill, 1861 - Chapter II

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  1. A dry and voluptuous theory
  2. The right to happiness
  3. A "piggish" philosophy

John Stuart Mill was one of the staunchest supporters of Utilitarianism, as well as one of the influential developers of the theory. In chapter two of Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill takes on the various criticisms of the theory and refutes them one by one as either misapplication or the misunderstanding of the theory by those who have already developed notions about the theory's validity. By doing so, he ardently defends his theory while making a persuasive argument for it's adoption among the public, including all members of society.

[...] In regards to the to happiness, Mills ties the utilitarian theory with a Christian standpoint and further adds to the theory's validity. He writes that a few critics charged utilitarianism with being yet admonishes them for thinking such things since, according to dogma, God wishes for humans to be happy, and it humans try to bring about the greatest possible happiness, then they are working for God, or at least with his sanction. The next charge that critics brought up was the fact that many people seemed to live without, or to sacrifice their happiness. [...]

[...] There is also a disparity between the pleasures in terms of quality, and it is this way in which Mill justifies the theory. According to his statements, humans have higher needs and desires than a mere pig, and to satisfy them requires more effort. Humans are complicated beings; human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasure; no intelligent person would consent to be a fool? (156). [...]

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