Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom, WC1H 0AL, London
In the process of history, mankind has never stopped exploring happiness. The thinkers in different times are constantly approaching the truth of happiness in the dispute of opinions according to the theme of their own era, but they have never been truly opened. The mystery of happiness can only be surmised and guessed at its true appearance based on the unpredictable presentation it has showed to us. Ancient Greece pursues the happiness of morality; Christianity aspires to the happiness of the other side of the world; for modern society, people’s interpretation of happiness is more complicated. For example, Kant reasoned out the consistency of morality and happiness from the strict moral principle; Marx established the collective care of all human happiness based on the historical materialism; those people in Schopenhauer’s arguments were always in the view of negative happiness in pain and boredom; Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory promoted self-realization; and Rawls revealed that life always gives him more happiness than he expects (Shao 2013). These explanations and discourses showed the true meaning of happiness from different angles, but they did not give us a unified opinion about what happiness is. The purpose of this essay is to explore the fundamental principle of morality, ‘the greatest happiness principle,’ in the Mill’s utilitarian thought of happiness. Based on his theory of happiness, compare it with the concepts of morality and justice, analyze the differences in the utilitarian theories of Mill and Bentham.
Utilitarianism; Happiness and morality; Happiness and justice
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