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The creed which forms

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Summary of Utilitarianism by John Mill

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The creed which forms the basis of morals maintains that people’s actions are only right in proportion as they promote happiness and wrong because they also promote the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the intended pleasure and absence of pain, while unhappiness refers to pain and privatization of pleasure (Ogan, 2018). The thesis has to do with utilitarianism as a theory of morality grounded on all desirable things and which are perceived as ends, including the ideas of pain and pleasure. In essence, utilitarianism is all about using desirable things for the pleasure inherent in them or as means to prevent the pain while promoting the pleasure. While the theory is exciting, supposing life does not have a higher-end than pleasure brings forth a doctrine that paints us utterly groveling and mean. Upon comparison, followers of Epicurus argued that it is not they but their accusers who represented human nature in a degrading light.

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The main argument is that human beings were not capable of any pleasures except those of which swines were capable. If the supposition were true, the charge could not be gainsaid. It would no longer be an imputation because the sources of pleasure were all the same to humans and to swines, and if the rule of life is good enough for one, it would also be good for the other. Comparing Epicurean life to beasts comes out as degrading because a beast’s pleasure does not satisfy what human beings have conceptualized as happiness. The faculties of human beings are more elevated than any appetite of humans and once they are made aware of them, they do not associate happiness with anything that does not give the gratification. As such, Epicureans were at fault for drawing out their scheme of consequences from the utilitarian people.

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References

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Ogan, T. V. (2018). John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism: A Critique. International Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies, 5(1), 66.

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