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Flashcards in Mill's Utilitarianism Deck (21)
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Mill's own conception of happiness

"Pleasure and the absence of pain"


Mill's defence of the quality/quantity distinction

Humans have faculties "more elevated than swine"


Bentham's conception of happiness

A mental state of pleasure and no pain- only the quantities of pleasure are importance as determined by their intensity multiplied by duration


Austin's conception of happiness

The most general "non-specific" assessment of one's overall wellbeing. Like how one can be healthy even with her leg chopped off.

Long term concept


Ayer's view of happiness

Happiness as desire satisfaction. Must give up that pleasure is the only thing ever desired.


Informed desire-satisfaction theory

Brandt: only desires that occur in a normal state of mind with full information (of what desire will feel like when fulfilled) count as maximising happiness


Mill's change of heart in his autobiography

Against desire satisfaction theory. Realised that he would not be happy even if all of his desires were satisfied --> separates the two concepts


Mill's "proof" of utilitarianism as the criterion of morality

1) Cannot find moral first principles via reasoning

2) Instead will be necessary to prove the truth of the statement via showing that is true for reasonable people
(a) will prove what people desire by finding out what is desired because things which are desired are good and the desirable is identical with the desired hence good=desired
(b) Need to prove that happiness is the only thing desired

3) Hence if each individual desires their own happiness the aggregation of all these happinesses is a good to the aggregate of all people


Moore's criticism of Mill's proof

Confuses the desired with desirable in the same way as visable/seen


Quotes to support the diversity of pleasures that make up happiness

Us desiring the various components of happiness (using Mill's own logic) even more greatly endears us towards happiness

Edwards "the recognition of a greater variety of qualities of agreeable feeling" makes us prefer the real world to a hedonist utopia


Edwards on pleasure

Pleasure being used for many kinds of sensation does not entail them all sharing a common element (Wittgenstein)


Hospers on pleasure

Localised pleasures and pains make up the non-localised ones


Paper that points out the different kinds of maximisation of utility

Parfit (Overpopulation and Quality of life)


What is the repugnant conclusion?

There will always be a number of people barely worth living that is better than having a few people enjoy their lives



Claim that if a change brings a net benefit it is a change for the worse if it involves sacrificing one of the "best things in life" that make life worth living


Why does Mill reject an intuitive justification for Utilitarianism?

Thinks that it is unscientific and never given justifiable proof. There must be a first principle that is not self evident as we do not have a "sense" that could detect it


Arguments against rule utilitarianism

Requires too much of people
Requires too little of people
Does not give special value to rights or primary facie duties
Victim of Nozick's "utility monster"


Arguments against RU

Becomes increasingly complex with the need for exceptions
Collapses into AU


Lyons on RU

An adequate rule-utilitarianism would be extensionally equivalent to act-utilitarianism


Sidgwick on morality

The doctrine that esoteric morality is expedient should itself be kept esoteric


Hodgson vs. Singer

Communication would break down vs. it wouldn't