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Mill: Utilitarianism, Chapters 1-3 Essay

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Utilitarianism, Chapters 1-3 In chapter number one titled “General Remarks” Mill starts off by talking about what is to be seen as morally right and morally wrong things, yet no one has a complete understanding for what is actually morally right and wrong. He then talks about “Moral Faculty” and two different views or opinions on the subject.

Mill states in his text that “Our moral faculty, according to all those of its interpreters who are entitled to the name of thinkers, supplies us only with the general principles of moral judgments; it is a branch of our reason, not of our sensitive faculty; and must be looked to for the abstract doctrines of morality, not for perception of it in the concrete. The intuitive, no less than what may be termed the inductive, school of ethics, insists on the necessity of general laws. The quote that Mill states is very outstanding for the reason of “applying the concept of law to ones certain case,” this is what Mill is trying to relate between the two different views. Mill also states that the differences between the two is where the “source from which they derive their authority” but yet they both agree on the concept of “moral law. ” So as the chapter is coming to an end Mill comments on how “Utilitarianism has had a tremendous influence in shaping moral doctrines, even among the people who reject the principle. Since our class had just been reading text from Kant his “idea of law” or “will” is still fresh in my mind and can easily be seen as a difference to what Mill is stating in the “Utilitarianism.

” I can directly relate the two ideas because Kant’s “will” for a rational being may be thought of “the objective laws of reason and morality” or “subjective needs and interests,” which is what Mill is talking about in his two different views of “Moral Faculty. Kant also states that “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” but Mill argues the point of an “unrecognized standard of moral beliefs remaining similar throughout time is the principle of utility. ” Then in the second chapter “What Utilitarianism Is” Mill talks about the “opposition that utilitarianism will respect the standard of happiness or utility. ” Having talked about this and other disagreement towards utilitarianism concludes that in fact “people can exist without happiness. There is much criticism and misunderstandings in this chapter towards utilitarianism that Mill argues and presents theories for. Mill states that “it is argued that a utilitarian will make his own case an exception to the rules, and will be tempted to justify breaking the rules by simply saying that a given action increases utility. ” Yet Mill goes on to say that “this problem is not limited to utilitarian theories. ” In the third chapter “Of the Ultimate Sanction of the Principle of Utility” Mill talks about the “External & Internal Sanctions. External sanctions could be known as “pure pleasure or fear of disproval. ” Internal sanctions could be seen as “a feeling in someone’s mind that can create worry when violating duty. ” From this Mill states that the “Internal sanctions make the strongest influences over ones thoughts and actions. ” Overall Mill concludes that “utilitarianisms sanctions are supported around the natural human feelings for which the correct education system could care for. ”

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