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Imagine what it would be like to be happy and live with a real sense of purpose. You need to write down the principles of what a healthy relationship means to you. Although your values will understandably be different from mine, here are five principles to get you started:. You know how they feel, and make a conscious effort to communicate in a manner which they respect.

You may not agree with absolutely everything you see or hear. However, you are emotionally intelligent and put the feelings of others at the forefront of your priorities. Nobody is perfect when it comes to relationships; we all make mistakes.

Utilitarianism | philosophy | Britannica

But what matters is how you react to them. You are accountable for your actions. You take responsibility for your errors. And crucially, your ability to do so is what earns you respect.


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You help others when they fall. You realize that some people are going to annoy you. But you focus on what matters: respect. As the relationship evolves, you understand that your interests and needs may drift apart.


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  5. You realize that you have a new opportunity to live with freedom, prosperity, and a newfound sense of happiness. You realize that it is within contributing to others happiness in which we find our own. If you want a happy relationship, principles will help you achieve that. If you want to live a comfortable life, principles will help you achieve that.

    The nature of utilitarianism

    If you want to live each day with a sense of fulfillment, principles will help you achieve that. The harm principle and the greatest happiness principle: the missing link. In this article I present a possible solution for the classic problem of the apparent incompatibility between Mill's Greatest Happiness Principle and his Principle of Liberty arguing that in the other-regarding sphere the judgments of experience and knowledge accumulated through history have moral and legal force, whilst in the self-regarding sphere the judgments of the experienced people only have prudential value and the reason for this is the idea according to which each of us is a better judge than anyone else to decide what causes us pain and which kind of pleasure we prefer the so-called epistemological argument.

    Considering that the Greatest Happiness Principle is nothing but the aggregate of each person's happiness, given the epistemological claim we conclude that, by leaving people free even to cause harm to themselves, we still would be maximizing happiness, so both principles the Greatest Happiness Principle and the Principle of Liberty could be compatible. In Mill's view morality is founded on utility, and utility is synonymous with the Greatest Happiness Principle: 1.

    Utilitarianism Defined

    The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure. Mill's Greatest Happiness Principle Principle of Utility establishes that happiness is the ultimate criterion to establish what is moral and what is not, i.

    Such an idea, however, could be problematic, since it is a fact of life that the happiness of individuals sometimes conflicts. The problem is that B will be probably less happy and suffering more after being robbed and, thus, if the criterion of utility were based only on the happiness of each individual, it would be completely useless to guide people's actions, especially the ones where there is conflict of interests. Mill was well aware of this, which is why he makes it clear that the utilitarian standard is not the agent's own happiness, but the greatest amount of happiness altogether.

    go site But what does "the greatest amount of happiness altogether" mean? It seems that Mill provides an answer to this question when he attempts to prove the principle of utility in chapter 4 of "Utilitarianism". He says: 3. No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable, desires his own happiness.

    7 Principles to Live by for Success and Happiness

    This, however, being a fact, we have not only all the proof which the case admits of, but all which it is possible to require, that happiness is a good; that each person's happiness is a good to that person , and the general happiness, therefore, a good to the aggregate of all persons. When Mill says, then, that the criterion of morality is the greatest amount of happiness altogether, he is not saying that there is a metaphysical concept of happiness that is reachable regardless the happiness of each individual.

    See a Problem?

    On the contrary, he is saying that the greatest amount of happiness altogether is nothing but the sum of the happiness of each one of us. In other words, it means that the more each one of us is happy and free of pain, the bigger amount of total happiness will be obtained and, conversely, the more each one of us suffers, the more the greatest amount of happiness is diminished. However, two problems still remain. The first one is that apparently we have again to start from scratch, because since Mill establishes that the happiness of each person really matters, how is it possible to decide in situations of conflict of happiness, such as the robbery case described earlier?

    What would increase the sum of happiness: a A stealing from B or b A not stealing from B?

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    The Utility Principle alone could not give such an answer, since in this hypothetical case and supposing that only A and B will know about the robbery the total amount of happiness will be the same in both cases. It is exactly at this point, and in order to decide about questions like this, that additional principles such as the Harm Principle can help. If we apply the Harm Principle, an answer to the question about which action is right is immediately provided, since this principle demands that we should have liberty of tastes and pursuits without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them.

    If that is the case, the application of the Harm Principle would rule out action a and classify it as wrong, since it breaches the Harm Principle, because A is clearly harming B in our example. The use of other principles in order to complement the Utility Principle is clearly admitted by Mill. According to him: 5. It is a strange notion that the acknowledgement of a first principle is inconsistent with the admission of secondary ones. To inform a traveller respecting the place of his ultimate destination is not to forbid the use of landmarks and direction- posts on the way. The proposition that happiness is the end and aim of morality, does not mean that no road ought to be laid down to that goal, or that persons going thither should not be advised to take one direction rather than another…Whatever we adopt as the fundamental principle of morality, we require subordinate principles to apply it by: the impossibility of doing without them, being common to all systems, can afford no argument against any one in particular: but gravely to argue as if no such secondary principles could be had, and as if mankind had remained till now, and always must remain, without drawing any general conclusions from the experience of human life, is as high a pitch, I think, as absurdity has ever reached in philosophical controversy.

    It seems that in saying this, Mill was making room for the use of his Harm Principle as a way of showing people how to reach the Greatest Happiness, exactly like sign posts are used on roads. In fact, the minimization of suffering is perfectly compatible with people abstaining from causing harm to others and this is almost self-evident if we apply the so-called utilitarian generalization 6 since if everybody stopped causing harm to others, it would produce less pain in the world.

    The minimization of pain can be easily conciliated with the Harm Principle prohibiting people from causing harm to others, and minimization of pain is precisely one of the demands of the Greatest Happiness Principle. Thus, it seems that there is no contradiction a priori between the Greatest Happiness Principle and the Harm Principle; on the contrary, the second could complement the first, as a means to an end. Saying this does not imply that the Harm Principle is derived from the Greatest Happiness Principle, but it does imply that the Harm Principle can not only converge with the Greatest Happiness Principle, but can also help us to reach the main purpose of the Greatest Happiness Principle.

    Notice, however, that the Harm Principle is far from being uncontroversial. Too much has already been said about what harm to others meant to Mill, but this certainly does not mean that: a there is not a core of things that clearly cause harm to others and, b people are not allowed to cause any kind of harm to anyone. However, if A gets the job because he hijacked B on the day of the interview, impeding B to be present, this is clearly a harmful action.

    Mill does concede that some types of damage to others should be admitted to, in order to promote utility, but then it is doubtful that these could be properly called "harm" harmful acts. There is, nevertheless, a second problem, a possible contradiction between the two principles caused by Mill's requirement in the Harm Principle that the self-regarding sphere should not be violated, i. The possible objection is straightforward, that is, if total liberty in the self-regarding sphere is a requirement of the Harm Principle, it does mean that people should be free even to harm themselves and if people do harm themselves it would be a breach of the Greatest Happiness Principle that demands minimization of pain.

    Thus, apparently, in some cases a conflict between the demands of the two principles would be inevitable. One possible example would be the case of people that cause pain to themselves or even mutilate themselves without any apparent utility justifying it. The two ethical theories offers solutions to the two ends of the spectrum with definite guidelines for each and all scenarios. But in reality, we often face situations where we need to adapt and be malleable and thus this calls for an ethical stance which may comprise of an amalgamation of the two theories and maybe more.

    Rachel, your illustration of the differences between Kantianism and Utilitarianism clarified a few of the misconceptions I had on these views, but also made me rethink my stance on Kantianism. I still view both Utilitarian and Kantian ethics as demanding, but after reading your post, I strongly favor Kantianism as Utilitarianism is far too demanding. Utilitarianism demands us to drop all pursuits and pleasures in an attempt to maximize overall utility. Indeed, both Kantianism and Utilitarianism have their advantages and disadvantages.

    Looking back at different belief systems we have studied, we have recognized each has its own limitations. As people have commented previously, the best solutions to issues and dilemmas can be found by combining the different theories. Yes, certain situations may render a theory incompatible and we able to recognize when such situations occur.