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John Stuart Mill on Utilitarianism

A Level: CCEA • Edexcel • OCR • WJEC

A detailed investigation into John Stuart Mill's key ideas on utilitarianism, including what they are, how they work, and why they're important. This lesson provides a brief biography of John Stuart Mill and covers the text of Utilitarianism. This includes discussion of his hierarchy of higher pleasures and lower pleasures, the introduction of rule utilitarianism as a distinctive type, and his argument that the principle of utility forms the foundation for all normative ethical theories.

GTRS C U JSMOU U (1)John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism is much easier to read than Jeremy Bentham's An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, and it's shorter! Its fans argue that it's the most concise and persuasive case for utilitarianism ever published, and it's certainly true that it retains its readability. But it isn't perfect: arguably, the introduction of higher pleasures and lower pleasures produces more problems than it solves. Nevertheless, you'll get to ruminate over this issue if you give it a read here. There's no doubt that it packs a punch as one of the most influential works ever written in ethics.

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