Rawls and mill ethical theories

Mill considers two possible interpretations of the source of the sentiment of justice: first of all, that we are equipped with a sense of justice which is an independent source of moral judgment; second, that there is a general and independent principle of justice. Because the utilitarian asks us to maximize value, he has to be able to make sense of quantities or magnitudes of value associated with different options, where he assigns value to pleasure and disvalue to pain.

But even if harm prevention is not sufficient to justify restricting liberty, Mill does appear to claim that it is necessary.

Rawls and mill ethical theories

According to him, the best obtainable evidence for value claims consists in what all or almost all people judge as valuable across a vast variety of cases and cultures. Similarly, this conception of rule utilitarianism assesses rules in both maximizing and scalar fashion. Higher pleasures are pleasures caused by the exercise of our higher faculties, whereas lower pleasures are pleasures caused by the exercise of our lower capacities. And these qualities he requires and exercises exactly in proportion as the part of his conduct which he determines according to his own judgment and feelings is a large one. Students at a disadvantage e. Suppose, for example, that medical advances are more likely to come about if pharmaceutical companies are allowed to make profit off their own research and development, and that this will only occur if those companies have a right to patent their intellectual property. For this reason, Mill seems to think that it poses no special problem for utilitarianism III 1, 2, 3, 6. It is not clear that aggregates of persons have desires. So the version of psychological egoism to which he is attracted is psychological hedonism.

Given that you know this but are not sure of the details, which conditions would you agree to now so that senior citizens are provided for? After this Mill turns to the question concerning moral motivation "Of the Ultimate Sanction of the Principle of Utility".

John stuart mill utilitarianism quotes

In the political context, the problem is how we can get self-interested rulers to rule in the interest of the governed, as utilitarianism implies that they should. Rather, he is assuming that the moral point of view is impartial in a way that prudence is not. Brink, Oxford: Clarendon Press. For while it provides an indirect utilitarian theory of duty, the account it provides of when sanctions should be applied to conduct is direct—it depends upon the consequences of applying sanctions. But he appears to think that these other-regarding pleasures can move us only insofar as we take pleasure in the pleasure of others V We need only a reasonable degree of experience and the capacity to empathize. We do not call anything wrong unless we mean to imply that a person ought to be punished in some way or other for doing it—if not by law, by the opinion of his fellow creatures; if not by opinion, by the reproaches of his own conscience. Oedipus is destined to kill his father and marry his mother and his desperate attempts to avoid his foretold fate are in vain. Along indirect act utilitarian lines, one could maintain that we would be cognitively overwhelmed by the task of calculating the consequences of any action. We generally believe that not all actions must be judged in regard to a moral point of view. He makes clear that democracies contain their own threats to liberty—this is the tyranny, not of the one or the few, but of the majority OL I 1—5. The only proof of desirability is desire. However, they should periodically step back and review, as best they can, whether the principle continues to satisfy conditions 1 and 2.

Indeed, if Mill is either a hedonist or a perfectionist he must think that people can and do have desires that fail to track the good. On the occasion of every act he exercises, every human being is led to pursue that line of conduct which, according to his view of the case, taken by him at the moment, will be in the highest degree contributory to his own greatest happiness.

A more plausible goal to promote would be something like the ratio of true belief to false belief. Though this avoids a regress, it appears to render sanction utilitarianism internally inconsistent.

john stuart mill on liberty

If we had a sense of justice that would allow us to recognize what is just, similar to how touch reveals forms or sight reveals color, then we would expect that our corresponding judgments would exhibit a high degree of reliability, definitude and unanimity. Hedonism asserts that pleasure is the only intrinsic value.

In a nutshell, Mill explains the sentiment of justice as the sublimation of the impulse to take revenge for perceived mortifications of all kinds.

John stuart mill utilitarianism essay

Moore Principia Ethica 71—72, 77— Bentham begins his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation with this hedonistic assumption about human motivation. For instance, Mill suggests this sort of perfectionist perspective on happiness when early in On Liberty he describes the utilitarian foundation of his defense of individual liberties. Higher pleasures are pleasures caused by the exercise of our higher faculties, whereas lower pleasures are pleasures caused by the exercise of our lower capacities. The model seems to be roughly this: At the neutral point of the preference scale, actions have the tendency — in regard to the status quo — to neither increase nor decrease the mass of utility in the world. You might be a surgeon or fishing for sturgeon. He explains these higher pleasures and links them with the preferences of a competent judge, in the following manner. What Mill fails to show is that each person has most reason to promote the general good. There are many virtuous actions, and even virtuous modes of action though the cases are, I think, less frequent than is often supposed by which happiness in the particular instance is sacrificed, more pain being produced than pleasure.

But in a letter to John Venn Mill claims that the moral status of an individual action depends on the utility of its consequences; considerations about the utility of a general class of actions are just defeasible evidence about what is true in particular cases CW XVII:

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A Theory of Justice