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Higher and Lower Pleasures Mills

In the essay, Higher and Lower Pleasures Mills explain different perspectives on human happiness and possible ways to achieve it. The question of pleasure and its role in human life is one of the most important and complex philosophical issues. According to Mill, pleasure implies that a person should perform those actions that produce the most joy, but that one’s very character should also be directed to the same end. Mills claims that understanding of higher and lower pleasures depends upon the perception of happiness and pleasure by a person himself. “A being of higher facilities requires more to make him happy, is capable probably of more acute sufferings” (Mill 529).

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Fort Mill, the idea of higher and lower pleasures is linked not only with the regulation of human actions but with the self-awareness of the sentiments. According to Mill, pleasure is concerned not only with the regulation of human actions but with the self-education of a person. This is so not just because the individual affects the behavior of others, which in turn affects the level of pleasure overall. Rather, self-awareness is important in coming. Happiness can be explained by those individuals who are able to understand the important difference between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ pleasures.

Mill underlines that what is significant—what the principle itself required—is to direct individuals to these secondary principles. Mill underlines that the core of pleasure consists in human morality and happiness. Mill supposes that pleasure in happiness can be proved, and this is part of his proof of utilitarianism itself. Happiness is connected with ethical theory, sanctions’ and moral motivation. Mill’s position on sanctions are closely tied up with his arguments for utilitarianism. For instance, if driving or reading promotes m happiness, then to that extent it has the ability to increase happiness. And to the extent that it promotes lower pleasure, through providing an individual with a headache later, it has a tendency to increase unhappiness.

The quote shows that the concept and understanding of pleasure depend upon the individual values and preferences of a person. A person will be exactly like a society: intelligent if the rational element is strong; brave if the determined element co-operates with reason and is not deterred by pain and pleasure; moderate if the elements are in their proper social order of subordination; and just if each element of the soul does its own proper work. In the person, pleasure is an emotional balance, with hunger and aspiration guided by reason to their proper exercise and approval. Since this emotional pleasure, it is agreed, is necessary for true pleasure, happiness turns out to have inherent value for the person; it is the emotional state necessary to lead life fully and well.

In sum, the lower and higher pleasures are the main and inevitable parts of human existence but the degree of happiness is determined by the unique conditions and circumstances of an individual. Abstract pleasures are vivid and persuasive in some ways but they cannot explain the true pleasure and happiness experienced by an individual. Personification and concrete pleasures give the ideas of philosophy a personal satisfaction which helps to show that these ideas refer to people and their world, and are not abstract theses for argument.


Mill, J. S. Higher and Lower Pleasures. Pp. 522-527.

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StudyCorgi. "Higher and Lower Pleasures Mills." November 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Higher and Lower Pleasures Mills." November 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Higher and Lower Pleasures Mills'. 2 November.

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