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Hedonism and Pigs

If by calling Mill’s theory hedonism, one means the elevation of bodily or physical pleasure above all else, he has in my view misinterpreted Mills assertion of the theory of utility. Mill likens hedonism to the satisfaction of a pig in his pleasures. He says “a beast’s pleasures do not satisfy a human being’s conceptions of happiness.” In fact he speaks of “the pleasures of the intellect, of the feelings and imagination, and of moral sentiments as much higher value as pleasures than to those of mere sensation.” He asserts that it is better to be a dissatisfied human than a satisfied animal. Mill did not stand for a hedonistic theory of utility.
According to Mill, the theory of utility has as its ultimate object the happiness of mankind, or Eudaimonism, a much different standard than the mere gratification of physical appetite. Not only this, but he asserts that those who are enslaved by these physical appetites will misguidedly pursue them to their own injury in opposition to the happiness sought by men free from such invisible bondage. (pg 10) They lose the ability to experience any pleasure beyond the bodily or physical pleasures that they share with pigs. Some examples of this kind of indulgence are gluttony, sexual perversions and addictions, drugs, and laziness. This kind of indulgence is what is commonly referred to as hedonism and is an undesirable outcome for John Stuart Mill.
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