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HAPPINESSHappiness: In one word, this concept exemplifies the American dream. People go to any

means by which to obtain the many varied materials and issues that induce pleasures in

each individual, and intrinsically, this emotion remains the ultimate goal, John Stuart

Mill, a nineteenth century philosopher, correctly advocated the pursuit of happiness, and

maintained the concept that above all other values, pleasure existed as the final

destination, Mill’s hedonistic views correctly and rationally identified a natural human

tendency, and his Utilitarian arguments strongly support the theory that above all else,

happiness is the most important dream to be fulfilled. Upon researching for this paper, I

came across a counter argument, which was based on metaphysics. Immanuel Kant, in

Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, defends his strong beliefs in the issue of a good

will, and surfaces as MM’s chief opponent on the topic of metaphysics, The issue

diminishes to a clash between emotions and pleasures verses rationality and logic. Yet,

what use is logic when the good agent is miserable? Mill’s stance within Utilitarianism

exists as the more favorable of the two beliefs, for happiness exist as the one

intrinsically favorable element, not an emotionless mind.

The main defender of the Utilitarian system exists within the Greatest

happiness Principle. Mill lived as a chief advocate of this concept, which supports the

idea that a decision is morally correct as long as it increases and encourages pleasures

and happiness. Kant, however, in his endless quest to remain separate from emotions and

thrive only on logic, would argue that autonomy should be placed above happiness in a list

of intrinsic values. A good will, however, does not comfort an individual in any way if

happiness does not accompany this asset, Consider this example of a seemingly happily

married couple. The wife in this duo is madly in love with her husband fiercely loyal, and

completely happy with her marriage and children. The husband, however, as wrongfully

strayed, and had a brief, but damaging affair behind his wife’s back. Kant would

argue that autonomy reigns over pleasure, and the woman should therefore want to be

informed of her husband’s adultery, Mill would greatly disagree. By revealing the secret

of the past affair, the woman’s happy world would be instantly shattered. Her pride would

diminish, her stability would fall apart, and the children especially would be forced to

view a nasty side of their beloved father. In this case, individual control is greatly

overshadowed by the need for happiness. The husband is no longer acting unfaithful and the

family can easily continue to live in a happy realm, If the secret were to become

uncovered, all members of this circumstance unavoidably would become terribly

disappointed, Under the Greatest Happiness Principle, the wife should not be informed.

Since happiness truly lives as the ultimate in human desires, sparing such immense amounts

of pain truly is the logical choice, Mill’s argument prevails, and all those involved

remain happy. Through this example, one can easily see that although autonomy is often a

favorable feature, it does not overshadow the importance of happiness.

One of the main arguments against Utilitarianism exist in the lack of apparent fairness.

An advocate of the Kantian logic principle would argue that Mill’s belief system does not

allow for equal treatment, When considering what is best for an entire society, however,

it is necessary for certain individuals to endure suffering. The good of society remains

the ultimate goal, and unfortunate pain is therefore inevitable, If young children are

being killed in a certain community, the obvious good for this society is discovering and

punishing the murderer. Especially when children are involved, people automatically demand

prompt justice. The officials of this area have searched immensely for the accused, yet no

leads have surfaced, and the community suddenly erupts with anger, they demand that

someone be punished, As a Utilitarian, the police chief sees a window of opportunity. A

drug dealer has recently been brought in on yet another drug selling offense, and the

chief decides to coerce the invaluable member of society into confessing the crime at

hand, By doing so, the community instantly reunites in support and a dangerous and deadly

revolt is avoided, and a menace to society is right back where he would have been

regardless of his confession: behind bars, Kant, however, would argue that logically, the

chase for the true offender should continue. He would shun the emotional decision to make

the whole society happy by ignoring the rational decisions. But since the community

obviously chooses happiness over logic, Kant’s arguments are irrelevant. In addition, Kant

believes in a decision making process completely separate from the natural human emotions,

Such a demand is possible only for a character such as Star Trek’s Dr. Spock, for human

emotions are as much a part of every day life as the decision making process itself.

Logically speaking, therefore, Mill’s Utilitarianism arguments maintain the largest dose

of validity.

Other opponents to the philosophical viewpoint of Utilitarianism state

that followers of this belief system often promote an ignorant lifestyle, They maintain

that advocates of the Greatest Happiness Principle believe in the theory that

"ignorance is bliss," Again, such reasoning is quite faulty. Displaying the

erroneousness of this statement can be done by examining the issue of AIDS, An opponent of

Utilitarianism would say an Infected HIV victim would not want to be aware of his

disorder, Such a belief is extremely incorrect. Mill and other Utilitarian are strong

advocates of education, for with intelligence, greater levels of achievement and happiness

can be obtained. A member of this belief system would rightly argue that being aware of

the disorder could increase long-term happiness, for treatments and support from friends

and family could greatly aid the victim’s fight against his or her alhnents, Mills

therefore strongly support education systems and believe in making society as a whole as

happy as possible. In the case of the AIDS victim, a Utilitarian would also support the

notification of the disorder to the victim in order to spare others of contracting the

virus, The happiness of the majority would not be increased by an unknowing HIV carrier

spreading the disease to other defenseless individuals, Utilitarianism clearly is not a

ignorant way to live, and the Kantian philosophy of ignoring the irrational system of

emotions cannot refute this standard.

Without happiness, the other opportunities and necessities lose nearly

all levels of importance. A true Utilitarian supports only those concepts that promote the

highest levels of pleasures, and as Mill states, encourages only those actions that

promote real happiness, From a Kantian viewpoint, rationality and the possession of a good

will remains the most important element, but even someone with the truest and most logical

of intentions can easily exist in a realm of pure depression. The one link that exists

between these opposite belief systems is the concept that, all decisions should be made

outside of one’s personality. The key is that Kant said this decisions should be made

without any regard for human emotions, A request of this magnitude is a part of a utopian

society only, for ignoring one’s emotions is an illogical assumption in itself, If your

child and wife are both dying, deciding which one to save cannot be made without some

emotional influence, Utilitarianism allows for the emotional side of li


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