In these introductory remarks, Mill sets the stage for his essay. It is helpful to observe his strategy of argument here. He begins by observing something of a crisis in moral thinking: basically, people have been unable to come to any consensus on what principles the notions of "right" and "wrong" are based on. Mill argues that having such a foundation is necessary in order for morality to have any legitimacy or significance. If actions are to be judged by whether they further "good" ends, it is necessary to know ends are good. Moreover, the stakes of this question are high: it is not simply an academic debate; rather, legal and ethical thinking depend upon a clearly defined moral standard. Having presented this problem, Mill introduces utilitarianism as a potential solution. He argues that it is already implicitly used as a standard, and that it fulfils the requirements of being a first principle.
Mill writes that his essay will reflect his attempt to add to the understanding and appreciation of utilitarianism, and to present some kind of proof of it as a moral theory. Utilitarianism cannot be "proven" in the ordinary sense of the word, Mill asserts, since it is not possible to prove questions regarding ultimate ends. Rather, the only statements that can be proven to be valid are those statements that lead to other statements that we accept to be valid. However, this does not mean that we must judge first principles arbitrarily; we can still evaluate them rationally. This essay, then, will present and consider various arguments in support of utilitarianism. Also, since much of the opposition to utilitarianism issues from misunderstandings of the theory, Mill says he will also focus on what utilitarianism actually posits.
Utilitarianism and deontology arguments essay
In his essay and other works, argued that Utilitarianism requires that any political arrangements satisfy the liberty principle (or harm principle), according to which the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others, a cornerstone of the principles of and . Some philosophers have also used these principles as arguments for .