Examine the key ideas of utilitarianism

Collections of Essays 1. Overall View Utilitarianism is a philosophical view or theory about how we should evaluate a wide range of things that involve choices that people face. Among the things that can be evaluated are actions, laws, policies, character traits, and moral codes. Utilitarianism is a form of consequentialism because it rests on the idea that it is the consequences or results of actions, laws, policies, etc.

Examine the key ideas of utilitarianism

On Liberty is the classic statement and defence of the view that governmental encroachment upon the freedom of individuals is almost never warranted. This is true even when the government itself relies upon the democratic participation of the people.

On Liberty 1 The tyranny of the majority is especially dangerous to individual liberty, Mill supposed, because the most commonly recommended remedy is to demand that the recalcitrant minority either persuade the majority to change its views or learn to conform to socially accepted norms.

Mill had a different notion. The proper balance between individual liberty and governmental authority, he proposed, can be stated as a simple principle: In particular, anything that directly affects only the individual citizen must remain absolutely free.

On Mill's view, this entails in particular that the government is never justified in trying to control, limit, or restrain: On Liberty 1 No society is truly free unless its individual citizens are permitted to take care of themselves.

Considering first freedom of thought and discussion, Mill argued that because even a majority opinion is fallible, society should always permit the expression of minority views. There is a chance, after all, that the unconventional opinion will turn out, in the long run, to be correct, in which case the entire society would suffer if it were never allowed to come to light.

Mill’s Naturalism

Sincere devotion to the truth requires open inquiry, not the purposeful silencing of alternative views that might prove to be right. On Liberty 2 Even if the unconventional opinion turns out to be incorrect, Mill argued, there is still good reason to encourage its free expression. The truth can only be enlivened and strengthened by exposure to criticism and debate through which the majority view is shown not to be merely an inadequately grounded superstition.

On Liberty 2 In the most common instance, Mill supposed, there will actually turn out to be some measure of falsity in the clearest truth and some element of truth in the most patent falsehood.

Thus, on every possible occasion, encouraging civil discussion of alternative views genuinely benefits society as a whole. Mill supposed that behavior as well as thought often deserves protection against social encroachment.

Human action should arise freely from the character of individual human beings, not from the despotic influence of public opinion, custom, or expectation. No matter what patterns of behavior may constitute the way we ought to be, he argued, each person must choose her or his own path in life, even if it differs significantly from what other people would recommend.

On Liberty 3 No less than in the realm of thought, in the realm of behavior unconventionality and originality are often signs of great personal genius, which should never be curtailed by social pressures. In summary, then, Mill emphasized that individual citizens are responsible for themselves, their thoughts and feelings, and their own tastes and pursuits, while society is properly concerned only with social interests.

In particular, the state is justified in limiting or controlling the conduct of individuals only when doing so is the only way to prevent them from doing harm to others by violating their rights. Thus, on Mill's view, legislation that attempts to promote good conduct or to prevent people from harming themselves is always wrong.

The line he drew between private and social concerns is a fairly clear one: In the essay's final chapter, Mill carefully noted several apparent exceptions to the general principle.

On Liberty 5 Governmental interference is not necessary even in some of the instances where it might be justifiable. Economic life involves social interest and may therefore be subject to regulation, even though free trade is often more effective.

Speech or action by one individual that encourages someone else to commit self-harm is appropriately restricted. Indirect action by the state designed to encourage or discourage without requiring or restraining individual conduct is permissible; in fact, doing so is simply good utilitarian legislation.

According to Mill, the state's legitimate interest in preventing harm to its citizens extends even into the domain of family life, as in forbidding spousal abuse or providing for the education of children. Finally, Mill noted that even if the involvement of the government in some specific aspect of the lives of its citizens does not violate their individual liberty, there may remain other good reasons for avoiding it.

Examine the key ideas of utilitarianism

If the conduct to be regulated can be performed better by individuals themselves, if it is more desirable that it be done by them, or if regulation would add significantly to the already-dangerous power of the social establishment, then the state ought not to be allowed to interfere.

On Liberty 5 Mill's conclusion, then, is strictly in favor of liberty: On every other contingency, the liberty of the individual should remain inviolate.'it is only the cultivation of individuality which produces, or can produce, well developed human beings' Mill's four essays, 'On Liberty', 'Utilitarianism', 'Considerations on Representative Government', and 'The Subjection of Women' examine the most central issues that face liberal democratic regimes - whether in the nineteenth century or the twenty-first.

Examine the Key Ideas of Utilitarianism Essay Examine the key ideas of utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a relativist, consequentialist and teleological system of ethics based on the idea of ‘utility’.

This means usefulness and utilitarian suggest that everyone should be the most useful thing.

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Examine the key features of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is an ethical philosophy which focuses on pleasure, and decides wether an act is morally right if it brings pleasure to the majority of people involved. Existentialism. Existentialism is a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology.

The theory of utilitarianism determines the rightness or wrongness of an action by its consequences. This is determined by measuring the amount of pleasure or pain brought to someone caused by an action.

The key point is that while rule utilitarianism permits partiality toward some people, it can also generate rules that limit the ways in which people may act partially and it might even support a positive duty for well off people to provide assistance to strangers when the needs and interests of people to whom we are partial are fully met, when.

Existentialism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy