Higher Philosophy - Short Answers Essay

Submitted By thinking2013
Words: 750
Pages: 3

1. Explain how the greatest happiness principle incorporates the consequentialist, the hedonist and the equality principles.
The goal of this principle is to produce the greatest level of happiness for all of society, each of the three principles which combine to make it, clearly offer something different. • Consequentialist - As the moral status of each action is dependent upon its outcome, then clearly we would want every outcome to be a good one. This would help each individual to seek to have positive/good outcomes, which would benefit society. • Hedonist - On its on this could be a very dangerous idea to live by. Simply put, only pleasure is good, pain is always bad. If used in a selfish manner then individual pleasure could cause pain to others, however tempered with the 'greatest happiness principle' it is a tool which says, that pleasure must always promote good, and not pain which would be bad. • Equality - All people are equal. The pleasure of an individual person is not more or less important than the pleasure of another individual.
Moral demands and standards apply equally to all of society, the 'greatest happiness principle' holds theses three different views together in harmony. Therefore the actions/consequences we do, must create the greatest pleasure/hedonist for the most people/equality. Above all else we must remember that for a Utilitarian, pleasure and happiness are interchangeable terms, they are synonymous with each other.

2. Do you think it is possible to grade pleasures? Why does Mill introduce the distinction between high and low pleasures? Is he just an elitist?

Some pleasures are clearly better than others are or longer lasting (i.e being given a car as opposed to a chocolate bar.) Both are clearly pleasures, yet one will surely grant more pleasure than the other. For Mill intellectual pleasures were of a higher order, and more base ones such as drinking where lower order. On a basic reading it appears that Mill is an elitist. It does seem as if he is stating that the greatest good for society is to avoid the lower pleasures as they stop us for achieving the higher pleasures, and that those who pursue the lower pleasures are lesser than others, (this could be seen as a slur on sections of society which were illiterate, or poor.) I think that Mill introduces the distinction between high and low pleasures because he could clearly see that some things might only benefit one person, where other things could benefit all of society, therefore we should pursue those pleasures which benefit everyone, not just ourselves.

3. How far do you agree with the hedonist principle? Give reasons for your answer.
I agree with this principle in that pleasurable things are in my own experience good, whereas painful ones tend to bad, however I only partially agree with this principal due to the fact that pain is often necessary in order for pleasure to take place. A…