PHM 2204 Lecture 11 - PHM 2204 David Copp Fall 2007 JOHN...

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PHM 2204 Fall, 2007 David Copp JOHN STUART MILL: UTILITARIANISM 1. Background * English reformers of the mid 19 th century (poverty, voting, women’s equality) * Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) * James Mill (1773-1836) * John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) * J.S. Mill aimed to provide an intellectual justification for the reforms * influenced by Harriet Taylor and, in his youth, Bentham and James Mill * began publishing in his teens * at 21 he went through a crisis -- doubting Bentham’s views 2. Bentham’s Act Utilitarianism The Principle of Utility (PU) : A person would be right to do something if, and only if, there is nothing else that the person could do in the circumstances that would have better consequences for the overall happiness of all who are affected. Bentham: *PU is the “fundamental principle of morality” * a person’s happiness consists of pleasure and the absence of pain * the level of overall happiness can be measured (in principle) by adding up a measure of all the pleasure experienced by anyone (or any sentient creature) and subtracting a measure of all the pain experienced * the idea of a “hedonic calculus.”
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