Pleasures In Terms of Morality and Physicality
Mill is generally accepted as a utilitarian philosopher, however about some points, he is opposed to Bentham who is best known as father of utilitarianism. Mill does not agree with the social and political results which Bentham comes to through utilitarianism. Both of them supports that utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its utility in providing happiness or pleasure as summed among all sentient beings, and they also accept that the things providing happiness are good, the things causing pain are bad. Although Bentham??™s utilitarianism is made up the definition of human who only seeks his satisfactions of pleasures, Mill is alienated to this conception of utilitarianism and approves that human is a morally responsible creature. Contrary to Bentham who supports that same pleasures are present in every human being and it leans on physical pleasures, as Mill supports, some pleasures which make the human dignity explicit are more important than material pleasures. Man??™s effort to have himself becomes more significant than to have basic pleasures. In this sense, in Mill??™s theory, artistic, cultural and religious activities get ahead of effort to satisfy physical pleasures. Thus, man should be considered as a moral being. Contrary to Bentham who accepts the pleasures as separate from their experiences, we can say that moral values can be more important than physically satisfactions, additionally, the social and environmental effects on human which make man different from others cause that everybody have different satisfactory pleasures.
The utilitarianism founds its theory on pleasures and pains. According to Bentham??™s utilitarian perspective, as his greatest happiness principle supports,
???Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think??¦??? (Bentham& Mill, 8)
Moral values are more important than material and physical satisfaction whether these satisfaction provide greater happiness for majority. Although Bentham suggests that human being is a basic creature who behaves appropriately to his physical pleasures, Mill comes up with the idea which accepts moral values. Mill accepts the human as a moral being and claims that moral values are more meaningful than the physical pleasures in human life. So, the basis aim of human life should be considered as moral and spiritual pleasures, not the material and physical pleasures. In this sense, moral responsibility is defined as moral aims, not the physical expectations. Some validities are further on physical pleasures such as dignity, sympathy, love, religious views, beliefs??¦
According to Bentham??™s utilitarianism, the main root of satisfaction is physical pleasures, because of having same needs and desires, these pleasures are same for every human being. Although Bentham considers pleasures as only material and physical pleasures, Mill supports that some other pleasures, which highlight moral values and human dignity, are more important than physical pleasures. In this sense, the aim of satisfy himself in terms of moral values, knowledge, religion becomes more important than fulfill his basic pleasures. Although both of them supports that pleasures are different in terms of quality, Mill supports that this difference is occurred from the pleasures in itself. Bentham says that the quantity of pleasure is more determining to decide the quantity of satisfaction. He does not give importance to the difference between people and their level of satisfaction from different mental and physical pleasures. However, the material pleasure which has more quantity can be more satisfactory than the pleasure which has less quantity. As a support for this claim, we can say that social and environmental differences between people can cause get different pleasures from different actions. In this sense, for instance, when a philosopher finds answer for his questions, he will be happier than businessman. We should take this example from two sides. Firstly, the satisfaction of getting knowledge is more important for a philosopher because his seeking is different from life. Secondly, when philosopher fulfills his knowledge, he does not do something only for himself, he also reaches a result which is important for whole society and through this action, he also performs his moral responsibility for his society. Mill supports these ideas with these words:
???It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.??? (p. 102)
To sum up, Bentham??™s utilitarianism, which supports the ???the greatest happiness principle???, says that human only seeks his satisfactions of pleasures and same pleasures are present in every human being and it leans on physical pleasures. Mill is alienated to this conception of utilitarianism and approves that human is a morally responsible creature. Some pleasures, which are changing person to person through social and environmental effects, and their experiences, become more important than material pleasures. Thus, man should be considered as a moral being and through this aspect, moral values can be more important than physically satisfactions, additionally, pleasures change person to person and people take different pleasure from different actions.