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AnswerCategory: PhilosophyWhat is the biggest difference
Maddox Smith Staff asked 2 months ago

What is the biggest difference

What is the biggest difference between Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Mill’s Utilitarianism?

I also want to know how Mill’s Utilitarianism can solve one of Aristotle’s ethics’ problem. Also, what is the biggest disadvantage of Mill’s Utilitarianism and how can I best respond to this issue? Thanks for your help.

1 Answers
Maddox Smith Staff answered 2 months ago

The common dividend to compare Aristotle’s and Mill’s ethics with, is happiness. While both philosophers appear to agree at the obvious conclusion that happiness is the telos of human life, they both differ in how they characterize it, and also in their thoughts on how it is to be attained. Aristotle’s teleogical view of the cosmos posits that everything has a purpose. Humans, also, have their purpose, which is the perfection of that which is unique or exclusive to them: reason. Happiness, as a human goal, is achieved in, rather, through, this process of perfecting the reason. In other words, human are happy when they are close to the ideal. Now Aristotle and Mill both belong to a tradition of philosophers who exclude and elevate human reason. While Aristotle seems to say that happiness is the state achieved through the discipline and exercise of reason (in economising life into a temperate stability, not overdoing, not underdoing anything), Mill claims that happiness is ultimately related to pleasure. Humans seek pleasure/ the absence of pain, and this is what makes them happy, and it is towards this, in Mill’s philosophy, that reason is aimed at. Aristotle’s happy person lives by virtues through the discipline of his reason, not like Mills’ version that tends toward pleasure. Mills version is partial to ‘mental pleasure’, which animals don’t have the privilege of exploring. A man may, against his own discernment, go for lower animal pleasures. And this is where his reason and discernment come in.