Category: Utilitarianism

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Justice as “super utility”

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Thursday January 20, 2005 at 9:45 pm)
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The important rank, among human evils and wrongs, of the disappointment of expectation, is shown in the fact that it constitutes the principal criminality of two such highly immoral acts as a breach of friendship and a breach of promise. Few hurts which human beings can sustain are greater, and none wound more, than when […]

The sacredness of utility

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Thursday January 20, 2005 at 9:36 pm)
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Is, then, the difference between the just and the Expedient a merely imaginary distinction? Have mankind been under a delusion in thinking that justice is a more sacred thing than policy, and that the latter ought only to be listened to after the former has been satisfied? By no means. The exposition we have given […]

What makes wealth concede

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Thursday January 20, 2005 at 9:21 pm)
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People feel obliged to argue that the State does more for the rich than for the poor, as a justification for its taking more from them [through taxation]: though this is in reality not true, for the rich would be far better able to protect themselves, in the absence of law or government, than the […]

Justice, utility, and “higher reason”

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Wednesday January 19, 2005 at 9:36 pm)
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In the case of this [the “powerful sentiment” back of the idea of justice], as of our other moral sentiments, there is no necessary connection between the question of its origin, and that of its binding force. That a feeling is bestowed on us by Nature, does not necessarily legitimate all its promptings.
But a […]

Youth and senility of moral development

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Tuesday January 18, 2005 at 10:37 pm)
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Will is the child of desire, and passes out of the dominion of its parent only to come under that of habit. [Utilitarianism, Chapter 4]
This is a critical insight on the lay of moral theories. Utilitarianism and Aristotelian virtue theory are, respectively, the youth and senility of moral development. We train raw desire in youth […]

Give virtue enough rope

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Tuesday January 18, 2005 at 10:22 pm)
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And consequently, the utilitarian standard, while it tolerates and approves those other acquired desires, up to the point beyond which they would be more injurious to the general happiness than promotive of it, enjoins and requires the cultivation of the love of virtue up to the greatest strength possible, as being above all things important […]

Happiness, a poor thing…

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Tuesday January 18, 2005 at 10:13 pm)
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How virtue got to be a desirable thing…
Life would be a poor thing, very ill provided with sources of happiness, if there were not this provision of nature, by which things originally indifferent, but conducive to, or otherwise associated with, the satisfaction of our primitive desires, become in themselves sources of pleasure more valuable than […]

Moral evolutionary tendencies

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Tuesday January 18, 2005 at 9:50 pm)
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Virtue, according to the utilitarian doctrine, is not naturally and originally part of the end, but it is capable of becoming so; and in those who love it disinterestedly it has become so, and is desired and cherished, not as a means to happiness, but as a part of their happiness. [Utilitarianism, Chapter 4]
The implication […]

Subjective motivation

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Saturday January 15, 2005 at 11:46 pm)
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There is, I am aware, a disposition to believe that a person who sees in moral obligation a transcendental fact, an objective reality belonging to the province of “Things in themselves,” is likely to be more obedient to it than one who believes it to be entirely subjective, having its seat in human consciousness only. […]

The place of utility

Posted by luno in Utilitarianism, Mill, J. S., Moral Theory (Saturday January 15, 2005 at 11:07 pm)
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If utility is the ultimate source of moral obligations, utility may be invoked to decide between them when their demands are incompatible. Though the application of the standard may be difficult, it is better than none at all: while in other systems, the moral laws all claiming independent authority, there is no common umpire entitled […]

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