Utilitarianism Summary

John Stuart Mill's theory of utilitarianism is an ethical landmark that is still popularly taught and utilized today. Reformulating the ethical theory first articulated by Jeremy Bentham, Mill introduces important nuances that arguably strengthen the utilitarian stance. In particular, Mill diverges from Bentham by asserting that there are qualitatively different pleasures, and that these ought to be weighed differently in the course of ethical reasoning. Even if one does not agree with utilitarianism, the view is important because it is able to unite the ethical sense of people across different cultures; indeed, it is difficult to deny that pleasure and pain are fundamental to the human condition, and to ethics.