References and Further Reading 1.
The ingredients of utilitarianism are found in the history of thought long before Bentham. Antecedents of utilitarianism among the ancients A hedonistic theory of the value of life is found in the early 5th century bce in the ethics of Aristippus of Cyrene, founder of the Cyrenaic school, and a century later in that of Epicurusfounder of an ethic of retirement see Epicureanismand their followers in ancient Greece.
The seeds of ethical universalism are found in the doctrines of the rival ethical school of Stoicism and in Christianity.
Growth of classical English utilitarianism In the history of British philosophy, some historians have identified Bishop Richard Cumberlanda 17th-century moral philosopher, as the first to have a utilitarian philosophy.
Bentham himself said that he discovered the principle of utility in the 18th-century writings of various thinkers: Another strand of utilitarian thought took the form of a theological ethics. Bentham, who apparently believed that an individual in governing his own actions would always seek to maximize his own pleasure and minimize his own pain, found in pleasure and pain both the cause of human action and the basis for a normative criterion of action.
For Bentham, The life and philosophies of john stuart mill greatest happiness of the greatest number would play a role primarily in the art of legislationin which the legislator would seek to maximize the happiness of the entire community by creating an identity of interests between each individual and his fellows.
By laying down penalties for mischievous acts, the legislator would make it unprofitable for a person to harm his neighbour. Bentham attracted as his disciples a number of younger early 19th-century intellectuals.
James Mill argued for representative government and universal male suffrage on utilitarian grounds; he and other followers of Bentham were advocates of parliamentary reform in England in the early 19th century. John Stuart Mill was a spokesman for woman suffragestate-supported education for all, and other proposals that were considered radical in their day.
He argued on utilitarian grounds for freedom of speech and expression and for the noninterference of government or society in individual behaviour that did not harm anyone else. In it utilitarianism is viewed as an ethics for ordinary individual behaviour as well as for legislation.
John Stuart Mill, Library of Congress, Washington, D. LC-USZ Utilitarianism since the late 19th century By the time Sidgwick wrote, utilitarianism had become one of the foremost ethical theories of the day.
His Methods of Ethicsa comparative examination of egoism, the ethics of common sense, and utilitarianism, contains the most careful discussion to be found of the implications of utilitarianism as a principle of individual moral action.
BBC Hulton Picture Library The 20th century saw the development of various modifications and complications of the utilitarian theory. Moore argued for a set of ideals extending beyond hedonism by proposing that one imaginatively compare universes in which there are equal quantities of pleasure but different amounts of knowledge, friendship, beauty, and other such combinations.
He felt that he could not be indifferent toward such differences. Urmson; and by the analysis by John Rawlsa Harvard political philosopher, of the significance for utilitarianism of two different conceptions of moral rules.
Smarta British Australian philosopher. Effects of utilitarianism in other fields The influence of utilitarianism has been widespread, permeating the intellectual life of the last two centuries. Its significance in lawpolitics, and economics is especially notable. According to the utilitarian, the rationale of punishment is entirely to prevent further crime by either reforming the criminal or protecting society from him and to deter others from crime through fear of punishment.
In its political philosophyutilitarianism bases the authority of government and the sanctity of individual rights upon their utility, thus providing an alternative to theories of natural lawnatural rights, or social contract.
What kind of government is best thus becomes a question of what kind of government has the best consequences—an assessment that requires factual premises regarding human nature and behaviour. Generally, utilitarians have supported democracy as a way of making the interest of government coincide with the general interest; they have argued for the greatest individual liberty compatible with an equal liberty for others on the ground that individuals are generally the best judges of their own welfare; and they have believed in the possibility and desirability of progressive social change through peaceful political processes.
1. Historical Background and Locke’s Life. John Locke (–) was one of the greatest philosophers in Europe at the end of the seventeenth century. Vitalism is the belief that "living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things". a Where vitalism explicitly invokes a vital principle, that element is often referred to as the "vital spark", "energy" or "élan vital", which some equate with the soul. John Stuart Mill’s rise to prominence was not an accident. Born in near London, in Pentonville, England, he was the eldest son of James Mill, an intellectual and reformer closely associated with Jeremy Bentham.
With different factual assumptions, however, utilitarian arguments can lead to different conclusions. On the other hand, William Godwinan English political philosopher of the early 19th century, assumed the basic goodness of human nature and argued that the greatest happiness would follow from a radical alteration of society in the direction of anarchism.
Classical economics received some of its most important statements from utilitarian writers, especially David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. Ironically, its theory of economic value was framed primarily in terms of the cost of labour in production rather than in terms of the use value, or utility, of commodities.
Later developments more clearly reflected the utilitarian philosophy. In economic policythe early utilitarians had tended to oppose governmental interference in trade and industry on the assumption that the economy would regulate itself for the greatest welfare if left alone; later utilitarians, however, lost confidence in the social efficiency of private enterprise and were willing to see governmental power and administration used to correct its abuses.
As a movement for the reform of social institutions, 19th-century utilitarianism was remarkably successful in the long run. Most of its recommendations were implemented unless abandoned by the reformers themselves, and, equally important, utilitarian arguments were commonly employed to advocate institutional or policy changes.
Summary and evaluation As an abstract ethical doctrine, utilitarianism has established itself as one of the small number of live options that must be taken into account and either refuted or accepted by any philosopher taking a position in normative ethics.
Utilitarianism now appears in various modified and complicated formulations.Utilitarianism: Utilitarianism, in normative ethics, a tradition stemming from the late 18th- and 19th-century English philosophers and economists Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill according to which an action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if .
Dec 15, · John Stuart Mill was born in London on May 20, He was the son of James Mill, a philosopher and economist who contributed to the early education of his son. The Cambridge Companion to Mill, ed. by John Skorupski (Cambridge, ) Roger Crisp, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Mill on Utilitarianism (Routledge, ) Jonathan Riley, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Mill on Liberty (Routledge, ) Additional on-line information about Mill includes: articles in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on: Mill by Fred Wilson.
Feb 19, · John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” is huge in politics and criminal law: but what are the limits of freedom?
And how does the history of the British Empire in I. John Stuart Mill ( - ) was an English philosopher, political economist and Member of Parliament of the early Modern period.
His philosophical roots were in the British Empiricism of John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume. Jun 18, · John Stuart Mill was a 19 th Century English philosopher who was instrumental in the development of the moral theory of Utilitarianism and a political theory that’s goal was to maximize the personal liberty of all citizens.
He was able to inspire a number of social reforms in England during his lifetime after the industrial revolution had Reviews: 2.