The Problem with Mill`s Argument

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TheProblem with Mill’s Argument

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TheProblem with Mill’s Argument

Milldeveloped his version of utilitarianism based on the assumption thathappiness is the only intrinsic good. He also suggests that moralclaims are not liable to proof, and that only broader grounds ofrationality can be utilised in the development of their arguments(Brink, 2014). The philosopher also suggests that there is nothing tobe desired other than happiness (Brink, 2014). In the development ofhis claim, he fails to mention the source of the happiness. He doesnot also elaborate on the ethics behind the generation of happiness.The problems with Mill’s argument that happiness is the onlyintrinsic good are mainly based on the development of the claim andfailure to consider other perspectives on the subject.

Theargument fails to consider the morality behind the generation ofhappiness. Individuals find happiness in different things. The factthat a thing makes someone happy does not make it right (Hauptli,2013). In particular, causing harm to another person to generatehappiness for one’s self is ethically wrong, and such is a directcontradiction of the argument developed by Mill. The claim thathappiness is the intrinsic good suggests that people should pursuewhat makes them happy but fails to measure the morality of theactivity that generates the happiness. It might, therefore, insinuatethat individuals should yearn to undertake whatever makes them happy,even if it implies costing someone else’s life, and such is morallywrong.

Mill’sclaim also fails to show or suggest the origin of happiness.Happiness can be generated from different things or circumstances.Such may vary over time leading to various levels of happiness. Bydeveloping the theory, Mill could have suggested what he thinks couldexactly be the source of happiness. By failing to give the origin orsource of his version, he does not achieve to offer the rightdirection through which an individual can achieve the “intrinsicgood.” In the development of the claim, Mill denoted that happinessis same as pleasure, and that it is the absence of pain. However, hefailed to indicate the process that he used in the development of theclaim, and to look at happiness as a development from either aninitial condition of pain, or an initial level of happiness.

Theother problem in Mill’s claim is the fact that he only sees thegoodness in happiness and fails to consider other things in anindividual’s life that are of equal importance. Fundamentalgoodness can also be achieved through other actors in a person’slife other than happiness. In his theory, he equates happiness topleasure, but this is a term with a broad meaning other thanhappiness. His use of “only” ties the theory as the fundamentaltruth and gives it a form of authority (Hauptli, 2013). He, however,fails to show how he came to such a conclusion in order to create aproper justification for his claim. To make his claim more agreeable,he should have offered the different pleasures to be tested (Hauptli,2013). Without a tested proof of the allegation or a list ofpleasures to be tested creates an assumption that the determinationsof quality are same for everyone.

Toconclude, the failure to consider other perspectives of the subjectsuch as the presence of different types of pleasures and the processin which happiness is achieved creates the errors in Mill’s claim.The process of achieving happiness varies among people. Mill fails tosuggest the process to be followed in attaining his version ofhappiness. Some individuals find happiness in accomplishingactivities that are considered morally wrong, and his claim failed toconsider such, or if it did, then it failed to consider theprinciples of morality.


Brink,D. (2014, August 22). Mill`s Moral and Political Philosophy.Retrieved March 20, 2017, from

Hauptli,B. (2013). Selected Criticisms of Mill. Retrieved March 20, 2017,from