An Introduction to Mill's Utilitarian Ethics by Henry R. West

By Henry R. West

John Stuart Mill was once the best British thinker of the 19th century and his well-known essay Utilitarianism is the main influential assertion of this philosophical strategy. Henry West's creation to utilitarianism serves as either a remark to, and interpretation of, the textual content.

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It is one of the classics of liberal thought, a sustained argument for the importance of a large variety in types of individual character and for giving full freedom to human nature to expand itself in innumerable and conflicting directions. It contains one of the most eloquent and powerful arguments for freedom of opinion and freedom of expression in speech and press to be found anywhere. Mill was profoundly fearful that growing democracy in government and equality in society would suppress individuality and override minorities.

A human] ought to follow nature is unmeaning; since man has no power to do anything else than follow nature; all his actions are done through, and in obedience to, some one or many of nature’s physical or mental laws. “In the other sense of the term, the doctrine that man ought to follow nature, or in other words, ought to make the spontaneous course of things the model of his [or her] voluntary actions, is equally irrational and immoral. ”21 Mill gives very convincing examples to back up these assertions.

15). Mill, Principles of Political Economy, 367–8 (bk. 2, ch. 13, sec. 1). 40 P1: GnI CY255B-05 0 521 828325 September 18, 2003 13:49 Mill’s Criticism of Alternative Theories writes his biographer, Michael St. John Packe, “an uncontrolled birth-rate was all that stood between men and ultimate Utopia. 33 Here, then, in unrestricted birthrates, is an example where the practice of what is “natural” has consequences unacceptable to Mill, and, in his mind, to anyone who understands these scientific facts and is concerned for the general good.

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