By Henry R. West
John Stuart Mill was once the best British thinker of the 19th century and his well-known essay Utilitarianism is the main influential assertion of this philosophical process. Henry West's advent to utilitarianism serves as either a observation to, and interpretation of, the textual content.
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Extra resources for An Introduction to Mill's Utilitarian Ethics
The instinct of taking a thing which we very much wish for, wherever we find it – food, for instance, when we are hungry. The instinct of knocking down a person who offends us if we are the strongest. As a rather different example take the eminently artificial virtue of cleanliness – think what savages are, & what violence must be done to the natural man to produce the feelings which civilised people have on this point. . ”25 Later in the same letter, Mill argues against a natural sense of right and wrong: “I am convinced that competent judges who have sufficient experience of children will not agree with the opinion you express that they have a natural idea of right and duty.
223. 18 P1: JPK CY255B-04 0 521 828325 September 18, 2003 13:44 Mill’s Life and Philosophical Background more active and intelligent than even the most benevolent despotism, cultivating public sympathies and stimulating people to look at questions from impersonal points of view. But he wanted to ensure that the voice of minorities would be heard in Parliament and that representatives not simply reflect the ignorance and prejudices of an uneducated majority. ” In Mill’s version, it is a scheme of preferential voting for persons on a list of candidates, without restriction to geographical representation.
This distinction is made in “Blakey’s History of Moral Science,” 26, and in “Sedgwick’s Discourse,” 50–2. “Blakey’s History of Moral Science,” 27. This interpretation of Hume (1711–76) as a utilitarian is a subject of controversy. Annette Baier, in discussing it, says that if he is to be seen as any sort of utilitarian, he is not an “act” nor a “rule” utilitarian, but a “character trait” utilitarian. , 812. 39 And from “the sympathetic reaction of these feelings in the imagination and self-consciousness of the agent, naturally arise the more complex feelings of self-approbation and self-reproach .