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Lecture 7

PHIL 1100H Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

Course Code
PHIL 1100H
Norlock Kathryn

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PHIL 1100
Lecture Notes
Week 7
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
John Stuart Mill
Readings in course pack
o Utilitarianism
o On Liberty
See p. 454, he first sentence after the subhead
o “…actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong ad
they tend to produce the reverse of happiness
And see next sentence
o “happiness – pleasure, and the absence of pain”
See end of that paragraph
o Pleasure, and the freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends
This is a: Consequentialist Theory
What is right or wrong will depend upon the consequences, or outcomes, of the acts
Happiness May Include Discontent
Higher pleasures may come with some pains
Higher pleasures are of a different quality than contentment
“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied, better to be Socrates
dissatisfied than a fool satisfied” [456]
Argues that the human live is pleasurable
Ends up concluding that human beings really want a balance of different qualities of
pleasures, lower and higher pleasures
Quality and Quantity
o A rich enjoyment of pleasures
The end of human action is the standard of morality
Not just to secure happiness to the greatest extent for all humankind, “but… to the hole
sentient creation.” [458]
‘That of all Concerned’
Utilitarian moral standard considers the happiness of everyone affected by an action [see
458, right after the section break]
The agent’s own happiness counts, but only impartially, no more than that of others
Then he says Jesus was a utilitarian, this is not a widely shared view
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