John stuart mill and utilitarianism

References and Further Reading 1. I do not expect to see anything like it again.

John stuart mill and utilitarianism

Precursors to the Classical Approach Though the first systematic account of utilitarianism was developed by John stuart mill and utilitarianism Bentham —the core insight motivating the theory occurred much earlier.

Of these, Francis Hutcheson — is explicitly utilitarian when it comes to action choice. They believed that promoting human happiness was incumbent on us since it was approved by God.

John Stuart Mill (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

This view was combined with a view of human motivation with egoistic elements. For example, Gay was curious about how to explain our practice of approbation and disapprobation of action and character.

When we see an act that is vicious we disapprove of it. Further, we associate certain things with their effects, so that we form positive associations and negative associations that also underwrite our moral judgments.

This is a feature crucial to the theological approach, which would clearly be rejected by Hume in favor of a naturalistic view of human nature and a reliance on our sympathetic engagement with others, an approach anticipated by Shaftesbury below.

The theological approach to utilitarianism would be developed later by William Paley, for example, but the lack of any theoretical necessity in appealing to God would result in its diminishing appeal.

This seems to have been an innate sense of right and wrong, or moral beauty and deformity. Again, aspects of this doctrine would be picked up by Francis Hutcheson and David Hume — Hume, of course, would clearly reject any robust realist implications.

If the moral sense is like the other perceptual senses and enables us to pick up on properties out there in the universe around us, properties that exist independent from our perception of them, that are objective, then Hume clearly was not a moral sense theorist in this regard. But perception picks up on features of our environment that one could regard as having a contingent quality.

John stuart mill and utilitarianism

There is one famous passage where Hume likens moral discrimination to the perception of secondary qualities, such as color.

In modern terminology, these are response-dependent properties, and lack objectivity in the sense that they do not exist independent of our responses. If an act is vicious, its viciousness is a matter of the human response given a corrected perspective to the act or its perceived effects and thus has a kind of contingency that seems unsettling, certainly unsettling to those who opted for the theological option.

So, the view that it is part of our very nature to make moral discriminations is very much in Hume. Here it sometimes becomes difficult to disentangle egoistic versus utilitarian lines of thought in Shaftesbury.

Further, to be virtuous a person must have certain psychological capacities — they must be able to reflect on character, for example, and represent to themselves the qualities in others that are either approved or disapproved of. Animals also lack the capacity for moral discrimination and would therefore seem to lack the moral sense.

This raises some interesting questions. It would seem that the moral sense is a perception that something is the case.

It also has a propositional aspect, so that animals, which are not lacking in other senses are lacking in this one. The virtuous person is one whose affections, motives, dispositions are of the right sort, not one whose behavior is simply of the right sort and who is able to reflect on goodness, and her own goodness [see Gill].

Similarly, the vicious person is one who exemplifies the wrong sorts of mental states, affections, and so forth. Shaftesbury approached moral evaluation via the virtues and vices.

John stuart mill and utilitarianism

His utilitarian leanings are distinct from his moral sense approach, and his overall sentimentalism. For writers like Shaftesbury and Hutcheson the main contrast was with egoism rather than rationalism. Like Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson was very much interested in virtue evaluation.

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He also adopted the moral sense approach. However, in his writings we also see an emphasis on action choice and the importance of moral deliberation to action choice. Hutcheson, in An Inquiry Concerning Moral Good and Evil, fairly explicitly spelled out a utilitarian principle of action choice.

Joachim Hruschka notes, however, that it was Leibniz who first spelled out a utilitarian decision procedure.John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (–) was a follower of Bentham, and, through most of his life, greatly admired Bentham's work even though he disagreed with some of Bentham's claims — particularly on the nature of ‘happiness.’.

Aug 25,  · John Stuart Mill (–73) was the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. John Stuart Mill (–73) was the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century.

He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. by John Stuart Mill () Chapter 1 General Remarks. THERE ARE few circumstances among those which make up the present condition of human knowledge, more unlike what might have been expected, or more significant of the backward state in which speculation on the most important subjects still lingers, than the little progress which has been made in the decision of the controversy respecting the.

Etymology. Benthamism, the utilitarian philosophy founded by Jeremy Bentham, was substantially modified by his successor John Stuart Mill, who popularized the word 'Utilitarianism'.

In , Mill acknowledged in a footnote that, though "believing himself to be the first person who brought the word 'utilitarian' into use, he did not invent it.

The History of Utilitarianism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Etymology. Benthamism, the utilitarian philosophy founded by Jeremy Bentham, was substantially modified by his successor John Stuart Mill, who popularized the word 'Utilitarianism'. In , Mill acknowledged in a footnote that, though "believing himself to be the first person who brought the word 'utilitarian' into use, he did not invent it.

SparkNotes: Utilitarianism: Summary