Exhaustiveness: Everything else we desire, is desirable because it leads to happiness

Created time
Dec 22, 2022 11:05 AM
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Moral philosophy
This is John Stuart Mill’s second subclaim for his proof of utilitarianism.
Basically, he admits that people not only desire happiness, but also other things. This seems to contradict this subclaim: happiness is the only thing that people desire. But Mill claims that all things that we claim to desire, which aren’t directly happiness, are desirable because they lead to happiness. This claim is similar to claims made by Aristotle.
Criticism of this is:
  • There are things that people desire for their own sake, not merely as means to an end.
    • E.g. virtues.
    • Mill says here that these things are part of their happiness. They were initially desired because of their relation to happiness, but became central in a way so that people claim them to be part of their happiness, rather than means to their happiness.