The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.
This passage is the clearest statement in Utilitarianism of Mill’s moral theory. He has already, in 1.5, mentioned his two main aims in Utilitarianism: to offer an account of utilitarianism, and, so far as is possible, to prove it. The second chapter is entitled ‘What utilitarianism is’, and the quotation above encapsulates Mill’s own view of it. The word ‘right’ here must mean ‘morally right’, since Mill is speaking of a ‘creed’ or theory concerned with ‘the foundation of morals’. Mill believes, then, that