What are Higher and Lower Pleasures?Edit
The concepts of Higher and Lower Pleasures consider a more educated view of pleasure beyond the Hedonistic views of Jeremy Bentham. Mill believed that pleasures were not a black-and-white concept, and that some pleasures fundamentally outweighed others by appealing to human traits such as pride and logic. This led to the creation of his Higher and Lower Pleasures.
A Higher Pleasure is one that must be educated for one to enjoy it in its fullest, such as reading, writing and composing music. Mill believed that the enjoyment of these arts was taught to us by as we developed, and was a core component in what made humans greater than other animals. The teachers of these pleasures are known as "Competent Judges".
A Lower Pleasure is instead one that all creatures enjoy naturally without being taught, such as sex and eating. These are traits that are innate in even the most simple of organisms, and are seen as Mill as signs of beasts and fools. He summarises his view in the following quote from Greek Philosopher Socrates:
"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied"
Higher and Lower Pleasures in Practice!Edit
The Skiing TripEditFor some peculiar reason you've got plenty of money left over, despite all the dosh you've spent on books you promised your teacher you'd buy for your courses. Grabbing some skiis and some goggles you plan to go off to the Alps for a week to enjoy some winter sports in the wake of the Sochi Olympics, no doubt believing that you'll have one heck of a fun time. However, you're also aware of a particularly important Philosophy exam that contradicts with your timetable - by going on this trip, you'll miss it. You find Philosophy more boring than an after-dinner speaker at a mafia family reunion. but what would you do? Would you enjoy this blast of a trip, or dip your nose into the books?
A Rule Utilitiarian would have no quarrel in this decision, and conclude that revising would be both a higher pleasure (Education) and a long-term pleasure (Being successful). In contrast, while skiing would be much more fun at the immediate moment the consequence could have far worse repercussions. Thus, John Stuart Mill would dive into the studying books - and Wikipedia - nose first!
The Flirty FrenchieEditWelcome to Paris! The sights are beautiful - a brilliant, wise culture that you find more stimulating than a snort of sherbert lemon. Maybe it's just because you sound a lot like Joana Lumley, but for some reason quite a lot of Frenchies have been eying you intensely. Their glares of death are expected - what with you being English and all that jazz, yet you're surprised when a rather good-looking beauty approaches you with a rather flirtatious expression. After a warm conversation filled with awkward jokes, you realise that you've been ignoring the artwork that fills the Louvre. You've always wanted to visit this place, yet you've been distracted by this dastardly dame/dude! Suddenly they offer you their hand, offering you a coffee "French Style". Of course being British you shake your head, but the thought fills your head - should you follow them, or continue your browsing of these European master-pieces?
In accordance to Higher and Lower Pleasures, a Rule Utitilitarian would conclude that the educated joy of art is far superior to the bestial and base pleasure one would achieve through a hot coffee. Thus, John Stuart Mill would shake off that Frenchie and get back to admiring the architecture - That'a boy, Stu!