Utilitarianism [NOOK Book]

Overview

John Stuart Mill's book Utilitarianism is a philosophical defense of utilitarianism in ethics. The essay first appeared as a series of three articles published in Fraser's Magazine in 1861; the articles were collected and reprinted as a single book in 1863. It went through four editions during Mill's lifetime with minor additions and revisions. Throughout the volume, Mill writes mainly as if addressing opponents of utilitarianism, but here he is trying also to criticise and refine the understanding of the ...
See more details below
Utilitarianism

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$0.99
BN.com price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

John Stuart Mill's book Utilitarianism is a philosophical defense of utilitarianism in ethics. The essay first appeared as a series of three articles published in Fraser's Magazine in 1861; the articles were collected and reprinted as a single book in 1863. It went through four editions during Mill's lifetime with minor additions and revisions. Throughout the volume, Mill writes mainly as if addressing opponents of utilitarianism, but here he is trying also to criticise and refine the understanding of the Greatest-Happiness Principle offered by earlier utilitarians, Jeremy Bentham in particular.

Although Mill includes discussions of utilitarian ethical principles in other works such as On Liberty and The Subjection of Women, Utilitarianism contains Mill's only major discussion of the fundamental grounds for utilitarian ethical theory.

The essay is divided into five chapters: General Remarks; What Utilitarianism Is; Of the Ultimate Sanction of the Principle of Utility; Of What Sort of Proof the Principle of Utility is Susceptible; and On the Connection Between Justice and Utility.

In the first two chapters, Mill aims to define precisely what utilitarianism claims in terms of the general moral principles that it uses to judge concrete actions, as well as in terms of the sort of evidence that is supposed to be given for such principles. He hopes thus to do away with some common misunderstandings of utilitarianism, as well as to defend it against philosophical criticisms, most notably those of Kant. In the first chapter, he distinguishes two broad schools of ethical theory — those whose principles are defended by appeals to intuition and those whose principles are defended by appeals to experience. He identifies utilitarianism as one of the empirical theories of ethics.

In the second chapter, Mill formulates a single ethical principle, from which he says all utilitarian ethical principles are derived: The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest-Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure.

Most importantly, it is not the agent's own greatest happiness that matters "but the greatest amount of happiness altogether." Utilitarianism, therefore, can only attain its goal of greater happiness by cultivating the nobleness of individuals so that all can benefit from the honor of others. In fact, notes Mill, Utilitarianism is actually a "standard of morality" which uses happiness of the greater number of people as its ultimate goal.

In the third chapter, Mill discusses questions concerning the motivation to follow utilitarian moral principles. He explores ways in which both external and internal sanctions — that is, the incentives provided by others and the inner feelings of sympathy and duty — encourage people to act in such a way as to promote general happiness.

The fourth chapter offers Mill's attempt at an inductive proof of the Greatest-Happiness Principle, on the grounds that happiness and happiness alone is desired as an end in itself.

The fifth chapter concludes the essay with a discussion of problems concerning utilitarianism, as well as the concept of justice. Critics of utilitarianism often claim that judging actions solely in terms of their consequences is incompatible with a foundational and universally binding concept of justice. Mill sees this as the strongest objection to utilitarianism and sets out to argue that a binding concept of justice can be explained in strictly utilitarian terms; and that the problems created by the utilitarian explanation are difficult problems for any concept of justice whatsoever, whether utilitarian or not.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940015314182
  • Publisher: Balefire Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 95
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was a British philosopher, political economist and civil servant. He was an influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy. He has been called "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century". Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham. Hoping to remedy the problems found in an inductive approach to science, such as confirmation bias, he clearly set forth the premises of falsification as the key component in the scientific method. Mill was also a Member of Parliament and an important figure in liberal political philosophy.

John Stuart Mill was born on Rodney Street in the Pentonville area of London, the eldest son of the Scottish philosopher, historian and economist James Mill, and Harriet Burrow. John Stuart was educated by his father, with the advice and assistance of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place. He was given an extremely rigorous upbringing, and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings. His father, a follower of Bentham and an adherent of associationism, had as his explicit aim to create a genius intellect that would carry on the cause of utilitarianism and its implementation after he and Bentham had died.

Mill believed that "the struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history." For him, liberty in antiquity was a "contest... between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government." Mill defined "social liberty" as protection from "the tyranny of political rulers." He introduced a number of different tyrannies, including social tyranny, and also the tyranny of the majority.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Rational.

    Quite simply put, Utilitarianism looks at ethics from an objective, rational standpoint. It ounlines the goal of morality, then shows how its principle best achieves that goal. Brilliant.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    A fine essay

    I particularly enjoy the speech that Mill gave in 1868 on capital punishment. He explains why we should allow capital punishment to be use in cases of where the crime has resulted in a life being taken as oppose to the cases where the crime is against personal property. But to confine an individual to a life sentence and have that individual go through life with the possible guilt of the crime that he has just commited is more inhuman than a quick death. As far as his statement on Utilitarianism (borrowed from Jeremy Bentham) goes, he covers almost every type of critcism that will come this way of that belief. Just like Socrates, Mill considers the intellectual pleasures far more enjoyable (and meaningful) than those that take the physical form. A must read for all those that concern themselves with trying to attain a state of happiness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2014

    Barely useful

    Alot of the text was distorted, and i find mill's theory to be flawed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 10 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)