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Philosophy E166: Ethical Theory

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Title: Philosophy E166: Ethical Theory


1
Philosophy E166 Ethical Theory
  • Week Twelve
  • Mills Utilitarianism Mills
    Response to Bentham

2
(No Transcript)
3
Some Facts of Mills Life
  • Mills early biography mirrors Benthams in
    several ways.
  • Both were very precocious.
  • Both pushed to study Greek and Latin.
  • Mills dad was a Benthamite who home-schooled
    Mill.
  • At 20, Mill had a nervous breakdown.
  • It caused Mill to re-examine Benthams
    utilitarianism.

4
Rawls Comparison of Christians Response to
Hobbes and Utilitarians
  • In section on Sidgwick, pp. 394-395
  • For the most part, what bothered them (the
    utilitarians) about Hobbes was not his atheism,
    if atheist he was, or his materialism,
    determinism and individualism.

5






6
Cudworth





7
Cudworth
Theism




8
Cudworth
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics




9
Cudworth
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics
Dualism (mind and body)



10
Cudworth
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics
Dualism (mind and body)
Free will (libertarianism)


11
Cudworth
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics
Dualism (mind and body)
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence

12
Cudworth
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics
Dualism (mind and body)
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
13
Cudworth Hobbes
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics
Dualism (mind and body)
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
14
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics
Dualism (mind and body)
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
15
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism
Dualism (mind and body)
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
16
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body)
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
17
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
18
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism)
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
19
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
20
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism
Moral sensibility and benevolence
Eternal and immutable morality
21
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism
Eternal and immutable morality
22
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics)
Eternal and immutable morality
23
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics)
Eternal and immutable morality Ethical Relativism
24
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real) Utilitarianism (Hume, Bentham, the Mills, Sidgwick)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy)
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics)
Eternal and immutable morality Ethical Relativism
25
Mill and Bentham on Religion
  • Bentham was an atheist
  • Mill in Utility and Religion, argued that there
    were no good arguments for supernaturalist
    accounts of the world, except perhaps the
    Argument from Design
  • But due to Darwinism, the jury is out
  • Still, he argued (as with Hume) for a problem of
    evil -- that the existence of evil was evidence
    against an omnipotent God
  • Mill endorsed a Religion of Humanity, in which
    history is seen as an unremitting conflict
    between good and evil powers, of which every act
    done by any of us, insignificant as we are, forms
    one of the incidents (Inaugural Address to St.
    Andrews 1867)
  • Utilitarianism is seen as an alternative to the
    morality of religion but not a threat to religion
    and in some cases, by Mill, as consistent with
    religious morality

26
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real) Utilitarianism (Hume, Bentham, the Mills, Sidgwick)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy) Secularism, whether with or without Atheism
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics)
Eternal and immutable morality Ethical Relativism
27
Mill on Materialism
  • Mill is a scientific humanist thus a
    materialist
  • On reports of miracles The facts even if
    faithfully reported, are never incompatible with
    the supposition that they were either mere
    coincidences, or were produced by natural means
  • On belief in souls Nothing could be more
    natural than such a fancy it is, in appearance,
    completely realized in dreams
  • On deism Due to Darwinism, the jury is out on
    the Argument from Design
  • Along with Hume, argues that Nature does not
    dictate ethics thus, no ought from is

28
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real) Utilitarianism (Hume, Bentham, the Mills, Sidgwick)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy) Secularism, whether with or without Atheism
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity Materialism Independence of Materialism from Ethics
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics)
Eternal and immutable morality Ethical Relativism
29
Utilitarianism Determinism
  • The utilitarians made the debate over free will
    and determinism irrelevant to ethics
  • Determinism was no threat to ethics, they would
    have argued all thats important in determining
    right or wrong are the consequences
  • Benthams theory of punishment paid attention to
    motive, but only because it was groundless,
    inefficacious, unprofitable or needless when
    there was no moral responsibility
  • What was important was the motive and the moral
    responsibility, not the metaphysics

30
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real) Utilitarianism (Hume, Bentham, the Mills, Sidgwick)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy) Secularism, whether with or without Atheism
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity Materialism Independence of Materialism from Ethics
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism Determinism Irrelevant to Ethics
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics)
Eternal and immutable morality Ethical Relativism
31
Psychological Egoism
  • Here there was a difference between Bentham and
    Mill
  • Bentham followed Hobbes in being a psychological
    egoist
  • Whether or not this was connected to Benthams
    atheism is not clear
  • Mill rejected psychological egoism and regarded
    it as irrelevant to ethics
  • Mill admires the altruistic pronouncements of
    Jesus

32
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real) Utilitarianism (Hume, Bentham, the Mills, Sidgwick)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy) Secularism, whether with or without Atheism
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity Materialism Independence of Materialism from Ethics
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism Determinism Irrelevant to Ethics
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics) Bentham Hobbess egoism Mill Egoism irrelevant
Eternal and immutable morality Ethical Relativism
33
Utlitarianism Relativism
  • What all utilitarians had in common was a
    rejection of ethical relativism
  • Objectivity in ethics the principle of utility
    and its mathematical implications
  • There is variation of a sort something might be
    ethical for you but not for me but it depends
    on different circumstances
  • Mill got rid of the variation by adopting rule
    utilitarianism (against Benthams act
    utilitarianism) the standpoint of the permanent
    interests of humankind

34
Cudworth Hobbes (Perceived or Real) Utilitarianism (Hume, Bentham, the Mills, Sidgwick)
Theism Non-autonomy of Ethics Atheism or Secularism (Autonomy) Secularism, whether with or without Atheism
Dualism (mind and body) Materialism and Unorthodox Christianity Materialism Independence of Materialism from Ethics
Free will (libertarianism) Determinism and Metaphysical Compatibilism Determinism Irrelevant to Ethics
Moral sensibility and benevolence Psychological Egoism (Compatibility with Ethics) Bentham Hobbess egoism Mill Egoism irrelevant
Eternal and immutable morality Ethical Relativism Ethical objectivity (the Principle of Utility, etc)
35
Mills Remarks on Benthams Philosophy
  • In Remarks on Benthams Philosophy
  • Mill criticizes Benthams positions we looked
  • at last week
  • The Principle of Utility
  • Benthams psychological egoism and hedonism
  • Benthams attempt to argue for the Principle of
    Utility.

36
Mills Summary of Benthams Main Principles
  • The first principles of Mr. Benthams philosophy
    are thesethat happiness, meaning by that term
    pleasure and exemption from pain, is the only
    thing desirable in itself that all other things
    are desirable solely as means to that end that
    the production, therefore, of the greatest
    possible happiness, is the only fit purpose of
    all human thought and action, and consequently of
    all morality and government and moreover, that
    pleasure and pain are the sole agencies by which
    the conduct of mankind is in fact governed,
    whatever circumstances the individual may be
    placed in, and whether he is aware of it or not
    (Mills summary in par. 2 of RBP).

37
Benthams Principle of Utility
  • By the principle of utility is meant that
    principle which approves or disapproves of every
    action whatsoever, according to the tendency it
    appears to have to augment or diminish the
    happiness of the party whose interest is in
    question or, what is the same thing in other
    words to promote or to oppose that happiness
    (Principles, I II).

38
Three Interpretations of Benthams Principle of
Utility
  • Interpretation 1 A type of act a is morally
    right to degree n if and only if a tends to
    produce happiness to degree n.
  • Interpretation 2 A token-action a is morally
    right if and only if a produces more pleasure
    than pain.
  • Interpretation 3 A token-action a is morally
    right if and only if a produces at least as great
    a balance of pleasure over pain as any
    alternative (where an alternative to an action a
    df. another act that the person who would do a
    if it were to be done the agent could do
    instead at that time) i.e., a, we might say,
    maximizes pleasure.

39
Mills Criticism of Benthams Principle of
Specific Consequences
  • 9 Now, the great fault I have to find with Mr.
    Bentham as a moral philosopher is this that he
    has practically, to a very great extent,
    confounded the principle of Utility with the
    principle of specific consequences, and has
    habitually made up his estimate of the
    approbation or blame due to a particular kind of
    action, from a calculation solely of the
    consequences to which that very action, if
    practised generally, would itself lead. He has
    largely exemplified, and contributed very widely
    to diffuse, a tone of thinking, according to
    which any kind of action or any habit, which in
    its own specific consequences cannot be proved to
    be necessarily or probably productive of
    unhappiness to the agent himself or to others, is
    supposed to be fully justified and any
    disapprobation or aversion entertained towards
    the individual by reason of it, is set down from
    that time forward as prejudice and superstition.
    It is not considered (at least, not habitually
    considered,) whether the act or habit in
    question, though not in itself necessarily
    pernicious, may not form part of a character
    essentially pernicious, or at least essentially
    deficient in some quality eminently conducive to
    the greatest happiness. To apply such a
    standard as this, would indeed often require a
    much deeper insight into the formation of
    character, and knowledge of the internal workings
    of human nature, than Bentham possessed. (9 of
    Remarks on Benthams Philosophy)

40
Mills Inference
  • Mill accuses Bentham of
  • focusing entirely on consequences
  • not caring about human psychology or character
  • So the principle of utility is said to be
    confused with the principle of specific
    consequences.
  • In light of that criticism, Mill comes up with 4
    kinds of responses in chapter 2 of Utilitarianism.

41
Mills Response to Bentham in Chapter II of
Utilitarianism
  • The Distinction Between Higher and Lower
    Pleasures
  • Happiness as a Manner of Existence the Ultimate
    End, and Not as Mere Pleasure
  • The Principle of Socrates Dissatisfied the
    Sense of Dignity
  • The Revision of the Greatest Happiness Principle

42
The Doctrine of Swine Objection to Benthams
Utilitarianism
  • Such a theory of life as Benthams simple
    hedonism excites in many minds, inveterate
    dislike. To suppose that life has (as they
    express it) no higher end than pleasureno better
    and nobler object of desire and pursuitthey
    designate as utterly mean and grovelling as a
    doctrine worthy only of swine. (Utilitarianism,
    Chapter II, 3)

43
Using Nozicks Experience Machine to Illustrate
the Objection
  • Nozicks Example from Anarchy, State and Utopia
    Imagine an experience machine that can feed
    people pleasurable experiences, and suppose that
    there is an intensity button and a duration
    button.
  • If everyone were ordered to be hooked up to the
    machine and everyones dials were turned up all
    the way to maximum so that everyone was at the
    greatest intensity and the greatest duration
    (which produces the greatest pleasure), then a
    dictator would be doing what the principle of
    utility says to do.
  • Such a thing is absurd because the life on the
    machine seems no better than the life of a pig.
    Given that the experience machine life isnt a
    life worth living, there must be something wrong
    with the principle of utility.

44
Mills Revision Distinguishing Higher from Lower
Pleasures
  • There is no known Epicurean theory of life which
    does not assign to the pleasures of the
    intellect, of the feelings and imagination, and
    of the moral sentiments, a much higher value as
    pleasures than to those of mere sensation. It
    must be admitted, however, that utilitarian
    writers in general have placed the superiority of
    mental over bodily pleasures chiefly in the
    greater permanency, safety, uncostliness, c., of
    the formerthat is, in their circumstantial
    advantages rather than in their intrinsic nature.
    And on all these points utilitarians have fully
    proved their case but they might have taken the
    other, and, as it may be called, higher ground,
    with entire consistency. It is quite compatible
    with the principle of utility to recognise the
    fact, that some kinds of pleasure are more
    desirable and more valuable than others. It would
    be absurd that while, in estimating all other
    things, quality is considered as well as
    quantity, the estimation of pleasures should be
    supposed to depend on quantity alone.
    (Utilitarianism, Chapter II, 4)

45
The Decided Preference Criterion (as Rawls Calls
It)
  • If I am asked, what I mean by difference of
    quality in pleasures, or what makes one pleasure
    more valuable than another, merely as a pleasure,
    except its being greater in amount, there is but
    one possible answer. Of two pleasures, if there
    be one to which all or almost all who have
    experience of both give a decided preference,
    irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation
    to prefer it, that is the more desirable
    pleasure. If one of the two is, by those who are
    competently acquainted with both, placed so far
    above the other that they prefer it, even though
    knowing it to be attended with a greater amount
    of discontent, and would not resign it for any
    quantity of the other pleasure which their nature
    is capable of, we are justified in ascribing to
    the preferred enjoyment a superiority in quality,
    so far outweighing quantity as to render it, in
    comparison, of small account. (Utilitarianism,
    Chapter II, 5)

46
The Problem
  • Mill suggests that we should not simply take into
    account the quantity of pleasure but also the
    quality of pleasure. Then the question arises
    How are we supposed to take the quality into
    account? With quantity we can calculate
    mathematically with the hedonic calculus, but if
    we introduce the variable of quality, its not
    obvious at all how the calculations are going to
    go through.
  • Returning to the hot fudge sundae example Which
    should I do -- read a book or eat a sundae? On
    the face of it, if all that you have to go on is
    intensity and duration and both are equally
    intense and both have equal duration than it
    seems straightforward. The higher pleasure gets
    preferred over the lower. But, what if the
    higher has shorter duration and lower intensity
    than the lower pleasure of eating the sundae?
    How they compare is not obvious.

47
Summary of Decided Preference Criterion (Due to
Rawls, p. 260)
  • Acquaintance Persons making the comparison must
    be competently acquainted with both
  • Self-consciousness These persons must have
    settled habits of self-consciousness and
    self-observation
  • Autonomy The decided preference arrived at not
    influenced by a sense of moral obligation
  • Intrinsic pleasure The decided preference must
    be formed not on the basis of circumstantial
    advantages or consequences but in view of
    intrinsic pleasure

48
Happiness as a manner of existence is the
ultimate end, not mere pleasure
  • Now it is an unquestionable fact that those who
    are equally acquainted with, and equally capable
    of appreciating and enjoying, both, do give a
    most marked preference to the manner of existence
    which employs their higher faculties. Few human
    creatures would consent to be changed into any of
    the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest
    allowance of a beasts pleasures.
    (Utilitarianism II6).
  • The idea Higher connected with enduring
    activities in a way that lower isnt.
  • Thus, Mill takes the preference to attach to a
    manner of existence which employs higher
    faculties a second-order desire to have desires

49
The Sense of Dignity and the Principle of
Socrates Dissatisfied
  • We may give what explanation we please of this
    unwillingness to sink into a lower grade of
    existence as a sense of dignity, which all
    human beings possess in one form or other, and in
    some, though by no means in exact, proportion to
    their higher faculties, and which is so essential
    a part of the happiness of those in whom it is
    strong, that nothing which conflicts with it
    could be, otherwise than momentarily, an object
    of desire to them. Whoever supposes that this
    preference takes place as a sacrifice of
    happinessthat the superior being, in anything
    like equal circumstances, is not happier than the
    inferiorconfounds the two very different ideas,
    of happiness, and content. It is indisputable
    that the being whose capacities of enjoyment are
    low, has the greatest chance of having them fully
    satisfied and a highly-endowed being will always
    feel that any happiness which he can look for, as
    the world is constituted, is imperfect. But he
    can learn to bear its imperfections, if they are
    at all bearable and they will not make him envy
    the being who is indeed unconscious of the
    imperfections, but only because he feels not at
    all the good which those imperfections qualify.
    It is better to be a human being dissatisfied
    than a pig satisfied better to be Socrates
    dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.
    (Utilitarianism, II 6)

50
Analysis of Text
  • Notice this sense of dignity is connected to the
    development of higher faculties. There is a kind
    of behaviorist conception of the development of
    the faculties here, for it seems that your
    faculties are not innately developed according to
    this picture but, rather, are developed on the
    basis of culture, education, and social
    circumstances.
  • The person with these more developed higher
    faculties will have farther to fall, so to speak.
  • To be a pig satisfied is to be degraded. To be a
    fool satisfied would be degraded to being treated
    as a fool and to treat oneself as a fool would be
    to degrade oneself.
  • Rawls doesnt simply satisfy himself with the
    last sentence of the quote, but ties it to the
    sense of dignity, which is crucial in
    understanding Mill.

51
And of What Rawls Calls the Principle of
Dignity
  • We may give what explanation we please of this
    unwillingness to sink into a lower grade of
    existence as a sense of dignity, which all
    human beings possess in one form or other, and in
    some, though by no means in exact, proportion to
    their higher faculties, and which is so essential
    a part of the happiness of those in whom it is
    strong, that nothing which conflicts with it
    could be, otherwise than momentarily, an object
    of desire to them. (Utilitarianism II6)
  • Utilitarianism could only attain its end by the
    general cultivation of nobleness of character,
    even if each were only benefited by the
    nobleness of others, and his own, so far as
    happiness is concerned, were a sheer deduction
    from the benefit. (Utilitarianism II9)

52
Two Things Going on in Mills Utilitarianism
Beyond What Bentham Holds
  • Mill makes reference to the higher faculties and
    the idea that some people have more developed
    higher faculties than other people. In those
    people with more developed higher faculties, the
    higher pleasures are going to play more of a role
    in decision-making than those with less
    cultivated higher faculties.
  • That means that there are things that are going
    to play a role in their lives (those with
    cultivated higher faculties) and, further, in
    their societys goals. The standpoint from which
    choices are made are not personal standpoints
    anymore. Were not interested in what actual
    people actually desire. Were interested in the
    long-term interests of society and in changing
    society so that people are going to want better
    things (so that they are capable of more
    goodproducing the highest amount of utility).

53
Differences Between Mill and Bentham
  • Mill has a much wider conception of whats
    desirable, in our interest, and thus of what is
    to be maximized in choices pleasure generally
    vs. higher pleasures, where possible.
  • The cultivation in Mill of the nobleness of
    character
  • Cultivation of nobleness as part of what Mill
    calls the ultimate end, with reference to and
    for the sake of which all other things are
    desirable (whether we are considering our own
    good or that of other people), an existence
    exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich
    as possible in enjoyments.

54
Mills Addition of Happiness as a Manner of
Existence as the Ultimate End .
  • Mill According to the Greatest Happiness
    Principle, as above explained, the ultimate end,
    with reference to and for the sake of which all
    other things are desirable (whether we are
    considering our own good or that of other
    people), is an existence exempt as far as
    possible from pain, and as rich as possible in
    enjoyments, both in point of quantity and
    quality the test of quality, and the rule for
    measuring it against quantity, being the
    preference felt by those who, in their
    opportunities of experience, to which must be
    added their habits of self-consciousness and
    self-observation, are best furnished with the
    means of comparison. This, being, according to
    the utilitarian opinion, the end of human action,
    is necessarily also the standard of morality
    which may accordingly be defined, the rules and
    precepts for human conduct, by the observance of
    which an existence such as has been described
    might be, to the greatest extent possible,
    secured to all mankind and not to them only,
    but, so far as the nature of things admits, to
    the whole sentient creation. Utilitarianism, II
    10.

55
Mills Response to Bentham in Chapters III V of
Utilitarianism
  • Against Benthams psychological egoism
  • Against Benthams narrow account of human
    motivation
  • Against Benthams act utilitarianism

56
Benthams Psychological Egoism
  • Bentham thinks that everything we do we do out
    of a desire for the good and that for human
    beings the good the object of desire is
    pleasure and avoidance of pain
  • Nature has placed mankind under the governance
    of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure, he
    writes at the outset of Ch. I of Principles. It
    is for them alone to point out what we ought to
    do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On
    the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on
    the other the chain of causes and effects, are
    fastened to their throne. They govern us in all
    we do, in all we say, in all we think every
    effort we can make to throw off our subjection,
    will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. In
    words a man may pretend to abjure their empire
    but in reality he will remain subject to it all
    the while.

57
Mills Response in Remarks
  • Recall Mills response in Remarks
  • Mill That the actions of sentient beings are
    wholly determined by pleasure and pain, is the
    fundamental principle from which he starts and
    thereupon Mr. Bentham creates a motive, and an
    interest, corresponding to each pleasure or
    pain. Now if this only means that our actions
    are determined by pleasure and pain, that simple
    and unambiguous mode of stating the proposition
    is preferable. But under cover of the obscurer
    phrase a meaning creeps in, both to the authors
    mind and the readers, which goes much farther,
    and is entirely false that all our acts are
    determined by pains and pleasures in prospect,
    pains and pleasures to which we look forward as
    the consequences of our acts. This, as a
    universal truth, can in no way be maintained.
    (Remarks on Benthams Philosophy, 24)

58
Mills Response (cont.)
  • The pain or pleasure which determines our
    conduct is as frequently one which precedes the
    moment of action as one which follows it. A man
    may, it is true, be deterred, in circumstances of
    temptation, from perpetrating a crime, by his
    dread of the punishment, or of the remorse, which
    he fears he may have to endure after the guilty
    act and in that case we may say with some kind
    of propriety, that his conduct is swayed by the
    balance of motives or, if you will, of
    interests. But the case may be, and is to the
    full as likely to be, that he recoils from the
    very thought of committing the act the idea of
    placing himself in such a situation is so
    painful, that he cannot dwell upon it long enough
    to have even the physical power of perpetrating
    the crime.

59
Mills Response (cont.)
  • I am persuaded, from experience, that the
    habit of speaking of all the feelings which
    govern mankind under the name of interests, is
    almost always in point of fact connected with a
    tendency to consider interest in the vulgar
    sense, that is, purely self-regarding interest,
    as exercising, by the very constitution of human
    nature, a far more exclusive and paramount
    control over human actions than it really does
    exercise. Such, certainly, was the tendency of
    Mr. Benthams own opinions. Habitually, and
    throughout his works, the moment he has shown
    that a mans selfish interest would prompt him to
    a particular course of action, he lays it down
    without further parley that the mans interest
    lies that way and, by sliding insensibly from
    the vulgar sense of the word into the
    philosophical, and from the philosophical back
    into the vulgar, the conclusion which is always
    brought out is, that the man will act as the
    selfish interest prompts. (Utilitarianism,
    Chapter II, 28)

60
A Broader Response in Utilitarianism
  • In Utilitarianism, Mill goes much farther in his
    rejection of Benthams psychology, setting out a
    variety of psychological principles that make
    clear that he is not an associationist like Hume,
    and nor a psychological egoist or psychological
    hedonist like Bentham. What follows are some of
    the principles that Rawls mentions (what Rawls
    interprets Mill to have in mind in 3 of Chapter
    V by the phrase the general laws of our
    emotional constitution).

61
Psychological Principles Rawls Finds in
Utilitarianism
  • (a) The Decided Preference Criterion (II4)
  • (b) The Aristotelian principle, which Rawls
    mentions on both p. 269 and on p. 300 of LHPP but
    which he says nothing else. In A Theory of
    Justice, however, the principle plays a special
    role in describing the good of justice. There
    Rawls writes (in sec. 65) It will be recalled
    that the Aristotelian principle runs as follows
    other things equal, human beings enjoy the
    exercise of their realised capacities (their
    innate or trained abilities), and this enjoyment
    increases the more the capacity is realised, or
    the greater its complexity. Rawls finds this
    principle implicitly appealed to it is never
    stated explicitly in Mills defense of the
    Decided Preference Criterion in par. 8 of Chap.
    II of Utilitarianism.
  • ( c ) The principle of dignity, as Rawls calls
    it or better, the sense of dignity. Recall what
    Mill writes in Chap. III of Utilitarianism.a(see
    what I quote under ( c ) The principle of
    Socrates dissatisfied above). Rawls argues that
    Mill uses language of ideals and perfection in
    setting this out which goes beyond the value of
    whats enjoyable or pleasing (LHPP, 265)
  • (d) The desire to be in unity with others. This
    Rawls finds in pars. 8-11 of Utilitarianism,
    chap. III.
  • (e) The principle of individuality. This, too, I
    will discuss after the break, in connection with
    On Liberty.

62
The Motivation Problem
  • Bentham seems almost entirely to have ignored the
    motivation problem
  • Why would we be motivated to act according to the
    principle of utility?
  • Problem more difficult due to his egoism
  • He does recognize a role for punishment
    external sanction, as Mill calls it and much
    of Principles is taken up with it

63
The Motivation Problem Remains
  • What Bentham says wont do
  • So Mill has the problem of showing that acting on
    the basis of the Greatest Happiness Principle can
    be consistent with the way humans are motivated
  • It obviously wont do to hold that humans should
    be so motivated to act according to the principle
    whether in fact they ever do

64
Chapter Three of Utilitarianism
  • Mills rejection of Benthams principle of
    specific consequences is motivated by his
    responding to this problem
  • So is the account of the psychology and sociology
    of a utilitarian society in chapter three of
    Utilitarianism

65
Two Kinds of Motivation Discussed in Chapter Three
  • External sanctions
  • Rewards
  • Benthams punishments
  • Internal sanctions
  • conscience,
  • conscientiousness,
  • consciousness of duty

66
The Role of The Social Feelings of Mankind in
Chapter Three
  • The importance to both sorts of motivation of
    the social feelings of mankind
  • (a) Equality
  • (b) Cooperation
  • (c) Sympathy

67
Equality
  • Society between equals can only exist on the
    understanding that the interests of all are to be
    regarded equally. (10th par. of Chap. 3)
  • Ambiguous between
  • READING ONE
  • Equality requires that all interests be treated
    equally requires that we do not distinguish
    between this interest and that interest.
  • READING TWO
  • Equality requires that all individuals be
    treated equally as sources of interests
    requires that we do not distinguish between this
    person as a source of interests and that person
    as a source of interests.

68
Another Difference Cooperation, Sympathy,
Civilization
  • .. They are also familiar with the fact of
    co-operating with others and proposing to
    themselves a collective, not an individual
    interest as the aim (at least for the time being)
    of their actions. So long as they are
    co-operating, their ends are identified with
    those of others there is at least a temporary
    feeling that the interests of others are their
    own interests. Not only does all strengthening of
    social ties, and all healthy growth of society,
    give to each individual a stronger personal
    interest in practically consulting the welfare of
    others it also leads him to identify his
    feelings more and more with their good, or at
    least with an even greater degree of practical
    consideration for it. He comes, as though
    instinctively, to be conscious of himself as a
    being who of course pays regard to others. The
    good of others becomes to him a thing naturally
    and necessarily to be attended to, like any of
    the physical conditions of our existence. Now,
    whatever amount of this feeling a person has, he
    is urged by the strongest motives both of
    interest and of sympathy to demonstrate it, and
    to the utmost of his power encourage it in
    others and even if he has none of it himself, he
    is as greatly interested as any one else that
    others should have it. Consequently the smallest
    germs of the feeling are laid hold of and
    nourished by the contagion of sympathy and the
    influences of education and a complete web of
    corroborative association is woven round it, by
    the powerful agency of the external sanctions.
  • This mode of conceiving ourselves and human
    life, as civilisation goes on, is felt to be more
    and more natural. (10th par. of Utilitarianism,
    Chap. Three)

69
Analysis
  • Theres overlapping interest in the members of
    society and increasingly so. As the society
    develops, overall utility increases and it
    increases for all its members.
  • Mill is very much interested in the idea that
    this kind of socialism maximizes utility and it
    makes everyone happier.
  • This mode of conceiving ourselves and human
    life, as civilisation goes on, is felt to be more
    and more natural. (Utilitarianism III 10)
  • Notice that that kind of conception is
    contradicted by some modern social theorists who
    claim that there is increasing individualism
    (bowling alone), which is at odds with what
    Mill is taking for granted here.

70
A Concern That a Utilitarian Should Address
  • While cooperation does require common interests,
    there can be no cooperation without individual
    interests and thus the distinction between the
    interests of oneself and the interests of others.
    Cooperation is possible where interests overlap.
    But cooperation is different from servility,
    where one has an interest in others interests
    only because others have those interests. Mill
    must somehow make the distinction.
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