There exist some rifts between Bentham point of view and Mills perception on utilitarianism. According to Bentham who was first proponent of this debate, he believed that humans were ruled by two major factions that is pleasure and pain. Bentham explained that we tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain, this search in quest of one and avoidance of another define our actions and thoughts. Bentham promulgated the principle of utility, the principle of utility recognized pain and pleasure as the fundamentals. The principle of utility approved or disapproved an action on basis of the amount of pain or pleasure it brought thus comparing the good with pleasure while the evil or wrong with pain. He was interested in social reforms hence problems with laws and policies motivated his stand on utility as a principle a standard measure of virtue.
On the other hand, Mill who was Bentham’s godson believed that the standard of utility to be happiness and not pleasure. Mill understood that it was not the quantity of pleasure but quality of happiness since qualities cannot be quantified. Mill concurred with Bentham on that a person’s good or well being was paramount. However Mill explained that some pleasures were more fitting than others. He claimed that intellectual pleasures were higher and better he maintained the use of utilitarianism to shape law and policies. Mill insisted that people desire happiness his version however differed from Bentham as he placed emphasis on effectiveness of sanctions which are emotions like guilt that regulate our actions. He concluded that virtue was instrumental and every human being lacking virtue was morally lacking (Mill, 2003).
Utilitarianism has contributed much to the debate how a man ought to live and act; this is by informing that he should only focus to get happiness from the consequences of his actions. It has been used in legislation in deciding what best policies to enact policies that have and bring benefits to all. However, actions engaged in achieving the desired end result may sometimes be against norms of moral values but have a general goodness to everyone. Welfare of the people is a concern and it can only be achieved through generation and adding happiness.
In Mill’s idea of intellectual happiness being superior this helps one determine what really count. In this context for instance a student may chose not to go for a party and stay in and study, pleasure derived from this is better than pleasures from eating or having sex again. The theory justification of punishment in reforming criminals involves setting the criminal away from the society and serves as an example to deter others from committing crimes through fear. This approach is evident in prisons and maximum jails.