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Lecture 18

PHIL 2010H Lecture 18: PhilosophyNotesMarch15

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University of Georgia
PHIL 2010H

03/15/2017 John Stuart Mill Cont. ● “He who saves a fellow creature from drowning does what is morally right, whether his motive be duty, or the hope of being paid for his trouble; he who betrays the friend that trusts him, is guilty of a crime, even if his object be to serve another friend to whom he is under greater obligations.” (p. 12) ○ Mill is all about the consequences, especially about the consequences that one intends ​to create. Argument: Happiness is the Sole, Ultimate Criterion of Morality ● It is a psychological fact that their own happiness is desired by each person, and so “the general happiness” is collectively desired by “the aggregate of all persons.” ● So happiness is one of the ends of human action and thus one criterion of morality. ● But many other things are desired--- for example, virtue, money, power, fame--- so these other things are also ends of human action. ● However, these other things start out being desired only as means for attaining happiness, not for their own sake. ● As an individual becomes more and more habituated to using them as means for attaining happiness they become a “principal ingredient of the individual’s conception of happiness.” That is, they become parts of happiness for that individual. ● Only one’s own happiness is ​naturally ​desired for its own sake; other things are naturally desired only as means to that happiness. But these other things may come to be part of one’s happiness over time, and so come to be desired for their own sake.
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