Guide Mill on Justice (Philosophers in Depth)

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Meanwhile, let utilitarians never cease to claim the morality of self-devotion as a possession which belongs by as good a right to them, as either to the Stoic or to the Transcendentalist. The utilitarian morality does recognise in human beings the power of sacrificing their own greatest good for the good of others. It only refuses to admit that the sacrifice is itself a good. A sacrifice which does not increase, or tend to increase, the sum total of happiness, it considers as wasted. The only self-renunciation which it applauds, is devotion to the happiness, or to some of the means of happiness, of others; either of mankind collectively, or of individuals within the limits imposed by the collective interests of mankind.

As between his own happiness and that of others, utilitarianism requires him to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator. In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth, we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. If the impugners of the utilitarian morality represented it to their own minds in this its true character, I know not what recommendation possessed by any other morality they could possibly affirm to be wanting to it: what more beautiful or more exalted developments of human nature any other ethical system can be supposed to foster, or what springs of action, not accessible to the utilitarian, such systems rely on for giving effect to their mandates.

The objectors to utilitarianism cannot always be charged with representing it in a discreditable light. On the contrary, those among them who entertain anything like a just idea of its disinterested character, sometimes find fault with its standard as being too high for humanity. They say it is exacting too much to require that people shall always act from the inducement of promoting the general interests of society.

But this is to mistake the very meaning of a standard of morals, and to confound the rule of action with the motive of it. It is the business of ethics to tell us what are our duties, or by what test we may know them; but no system of ethics requires that the sole motive of all we do shall be a feeling of duty; on the contrary, ninety-nine hundredths of all our actions are done from other motives, and rightly so done, if the rule of duty does not condemn them. It is the more unjust to utilitarianism that this particular misapprehension should be made a ground of objection to it, inasmuch as utilitarian moralists have gone beyond almost all others in affirming that the motive has nothing to do with the morality of the action, though much with the worth of the agent.

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. The great majority of good actions are intended, not for the benefit of the world, but for that of individuals, of which the good of the world is made up; and the thoughts of the most virtuous man need not on these occasions travel beyond the particular persons concerned, except so far as is necessary to assure himself that in benefiting them he is not violating the rights—that is, the legitimate and authorized expectations—of any one else.

The multiplication of happiness is, according to the utilitarian ethics, the object of virtue: the occasions on which any person except one in a thousand has it in his power to do this on an extended scale, in other words, to be a public benefactor, are but exceptional; and on these occasions alone is he called on to consider public utility; in every other case, private utility, the interest or happiness of some few persons, is all he has to attend to.

Those alone the influence of whose actions extends to society in general, need concern themselves habitually about so large an object. In the case of abstinences indeed—of things which people forbear to do, from moral considerations, though the consequences in the particular case might be beneficial—it would be unworthy of an intelligent agent not to be consciously aware that the action is of a class which, if practised generally, would be generally injurious, and that this is the ground of the obligation to abstain from it.

The amount of regard for the public interest implied in this recognition, is no greater than is demanded by every system of morals; for they all enjoin to abstain from whatever is manifestly pernicious to society. The same considerations dispose of another reproach against the doctrine of utility, founded on a still grosser misconception of the purpose of a standard of morality, and of the very meaning of the words right and wrong.

It is often affirmed that utilitarianism renders men cold and unsympathizing; that it chills their moral feelings towards individuals; that it makes them regard only the dry and hard consideration of the consequences of actions, not taking into their moral estimate the qualities from which those actions emanate.


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If the assertion means that they do not allow their judgment respecting the rightness or wrongness of an action to be influenced by their opinion of the qualities of the person who does it, this is a complaint not against utilitarianism, but against having any standard of morality at all; for certainly no known ethical standard decides an action to be good or bad because it is done by a good or a bad man, still less because done by an amiable, a brave, or a benevolent man or the contrary.

These considerations are relevant, not to the estimation of actions, but of persons; and there is nothing in the utilitarian theory inconsistent with the fact that there are other things which interest us in persons besides the rightness and wrongness of their actions. The Stoics, indeed, with the paradoxical misuse of language which was part of their system, and by which they strove to raise themselves above all concern about anything but virtue, were fond of saying that he who has that has everything; that he, and only he, is rich, is beautiful, is a king.

But no claim of this description is made for the virtuous man by the utilitarian doctrine. Utilitarians are quite aware that there are other desirable possessions and qualities besides virtue, and are perfectly willing to allow to all of them their full worth. They are also aware that a right action does not necessarily indicate a virtuous character, and that actions which are blameable often proceed from qualities entitled to praise.

When this is apparent in any particular case, it modifies their estimation, not certainly of the act, but of the agent. I grant that they are, notwithstanding, of opinion, that in the long run the best proof of a good character is good actions; and resolutely refuse to consider any mental disposition as good, of which the predominant tendency is to produce bad conduct. This makes them unpopular with many people; but it is an unpopularity which they must share with every one who regards the distinction between right and wrong in a serious light; and the reproach is not one which a conscientious utilitarian need be anxious to repel.

If no more be meant by the objection than that many utilitarians look on the morality of actions, as measured by the utilitarian standard, with too exclusive a regard, and do not lay sufficient stress upon the other beauties of character which go towards making a human being loveable or admirable, this may be admitted. Utilitarians who have cultivated their moral feelings, but not their sympathies nor their artistic perceptions, do fall into this mistake; and so do all other moralists under the same conditions.

What can be said in excuse for other moralists is equally available for them, namely, that if there is to be any error, it is better that it should be on that side. As a matter of fact, we may affirm that among utilitarians as among adherents of other systems, there is every imaginable degree of rigidity and of laxity in the application of their standard: some are even puritanically rigorous, while others are as indulgent as can possibly be desired by sinner or by sentimentalist. But on the whole, a doctrine which brings prominently forward the interest that mankind have in the repression and prevention of conduct which violates the moral law, is likely to be inferior to no other in turning the sanctions of opinion against such violations.

It is true, the question, What does violate the moral law? But difference of opinion on moral questions was not first introduced into the world by utilitarianism, while that doctrine does supply, if not always an easy, at all events a tangible and intelligible mode of deciding such differences. It may not be superfluous to notice a few more of the common misapprehensions of utilitarian ethics, even those which are so obvious and gross that it might appear impossible for any person of candour and intelligence to fall into them: since persons, even of considerable mental endowments, often give themselves so little trouble to understand the bearings of any opinion against which they entertain a prejudice, and men are in general so little conscious of this voluntary ignorance as a defect, that the vulgarest misunderstandings of ethical doctrines are continually met with in the deliberate writings of persons of the greatest pretensions both to high principle and to philosophy.

If it be necessary to say anything at all against so mere an assumption, we may say that the question depends upon what idea we have formed of the moral character of the Deity. If it be a true belief that God desires, above all things, the happiness of his creatures, and that this was his purpose in their creation, utility is not only not a godless doctrine, but more profoundly religious than any other.

If it be meant that utilitarianism does not recognise the revealed will of God as the supreme law of morals, I answer, that an utilitarian who believes in the perfect goodness and wisdom of God, necessarily believes that whatever God has thought fit to reveal on the subject of morals, must fulfil the requirements of utility in a supreme degree. Whether this opinion is correct or not, it is superfluous here to discuss; since whatever aid religion, either natural or revealed, can afford to ethical investigation, is as open to the utilitarian moralist as to any other.

He can use it as the testimony of God to the usefulness or hurtfulness of any given course of action, by as good a right as others can use it for the indication of a transcendental law, having no connexion with usefulness or with happiness. Again, Utility is often summarily stigmatized as an immoral doctrine by giving it the name of Expediency, and taking advantage of the popular use of that term to contrast it with Principle.

But the Expedient, in the sense in which it is opposed to the Right, generally means that which is expedient for the particular interest of the agent himself: as when a minister sacrifices the interest of his country to keep himself in place. When it means anything better than this, it means that which is expedient for some immediate object, some temporary purpose, but which violates a rule whose observance is expedient in a much higher degree.

The Expedient, in this sense, instead of being the same thing with the useful, is a branch of the hurtful. Thus, it would often be expedient, for the purpose of getting over some momentary embarrassment, or attaining some object immediately useful to ourselves or others, to tell a lie. Yet that even this rule, sacred as it is, admits of possible exceptions, is acknowledged by all moralists; the chief of which is when the withholding of some fact as of information from a male-factor, or of bad news from a person dangerously ill would preserve some one especially a person other than oneself from great and unmerited evil, and when the withholding can only be effected by denial.

But in order that the exception may not extend itself beyond the need, and may have the least possible effect in weakening reliance on veracity, it ought to be recognized, and, if possible, its limits defined; and if the principle of utility is good for anything, it must be good for weighing these conflicting utilities against one another, and marking out the region within which one or the other preponderates.

Again, defenders of utility often find themselves called upon to reply to such objections as this—that there is not time, previous to action, for calculating and weighing the effects of any line of conduct on the general happiness. This is exactly as if any one were to say that it is impossible to guide our conduct by Christianity, because there is not time, on every occasion on which anything has to be done, to read through the Old and New Testaments.

The answer to the objection is, that there has been ample time, namely, the whole past duration of the human species. During all that time mankind have been learning by experience the tendencies of actions; on which experience all the prudence, as well as all the morality of life, is dependent. People talk as if the commencement of this course of experience had hitherto been put off, and as if, at the moment when some man feels tempted to meddle with the property or life of another, he had to begin considering for the first time whether murder and theft are injurious to human happiness.

Even then I do not think that he would find the question very puzzling; but, at all events, the matter is now done to his hand. It is truly a whimsical supposition, that if mankind were agreed in considering utility to be the test of morality, they would remain without any agreement as to what is useful, and would take no measures for having their notions on the subject taught to the young, and enforced by law and opinion.

There is no difficulty in proving any ethical standard whatever to work ill, if we suppose universal idiocy to be conjoined with it, but on any hypothesis short of that, mankind must by this time have acquired positive beliefs as to the effects of some actions on their happiness; and the beliefs which have thus come down are the rules of morality for the multitude, and for the philosopher until he has succeeded in finding better.

That philosophers might easily do this, even now, on many subjects; that the received code of ethics is by no means of divine right; and that mankind have still much to learn as to the effects of actions on the general happiness, I admit, or rather, earnestly maintain. The corollaries from the principle of utility, like the precepts of every practical art, admit of indefinite improvement, and, in a progressive state of the human mind, their improvement is perpetually going on. But to consider the rules of morality as improvable, is one thing; to pass over the intermediate generalizations entirely, and endeavour to test each individual action directly by the first principle, is another.

It is a strange notion that the acknowledgment of a first principle is inconsistent with the admission of secondary ones. To inform a traveller respecting the place of his ultimate destination, is not to forbid the use of landmarks and direction-posts on the way.

The proposition that happiness is the end and aim of morality, does not mean that no road ought to be laid down to that goal, or that persons going thither should not be advised to take one direction rather than another. Men really ought to leave off talking a kind of nonsense on this subject, which they would neither talk nor listen to on other matters of practical concernment.

Nobody argues that the art of navigation is not founded on astronomy, because sailors cannot wait to calculate the Nautical Almanack. Being rational creatures, they go to sea with it ready calculated; and all rational creatures go out upon the sea of life with their minds made up on the common questions of right and wrong, as well as on many of the far more difficult questions of wise and foolish.

And this, as long as foresight is a human quality, it is to be presumed they will continue to do. Whatever we adopt as the fundamental principle of morality, we require subordinate principles to apply it by: the impossibility of doing without them, being common to all systems, can afford no argument against any one in particular: but gravely to argue as if no such secondary principles could be had, and as if mankind had remained till now, and always must remain, without drawing any general conclusions from the experience of human life, is as high a pitch, I think, as absurdity has ever reached in philosophical controversy.

The remainder of the stock arguments against utilitarianism mostly consist in laying to its charge the common infirmities of human nature, and the general difficulties which embarrass conscientious persons in shaping their course through life. We are told that an utilitarian will be apt to make his own particular case an exception to moral rules, and, when under temptation, will see an utility in the breach of a rule, greater than he will see in its observance.

But is utility the only creed which is able to furnish us with excuses for evil doing, and means of cheating our own conscience? They are afforded in abundance by all doctrines which recognise as a fact in morals the existence of conflicting considerations; which all doctrines do, that have been believed by sane persons. It is not the fault of any creed, but of the complicated nature of human affairs, that rules of conduct cannot be so framed as to require no exceptions, and that hardly any kind of action can safely be laid down as either always obligatory or always condemnable.

There is no ethical creed which does not temper the rigidity of its laws, by giving a certain latitude, under the moral responsibility of the agent, for accommodation to peculiarities of circumstances; and under every creed, at the opening thus made, self-deception and dishonest casuistry get in. There exists no moral system under which there do not arise unequivocal cases of conflicting obligation.

These are the real difficulties, the knotty points both in the theory of ethics, and in the conscientious guidance of personal conduct. They are overcome practically with greater or with less success according to the intellect and virtue of the individual; but it can hardly be pretended that any one will be the less qualified for dealing with them, from possessing an ultimate standard to which conflicting rights and duties can be referred.

If utility is the ultimate source of moral obligations, utility may be invoked to decide between them when their demands are incompatible. Though the application of the standard may be difficult, it is better than none at all: while in other systems, the moral laws all claiming independent authority, there is no common umpire entitled to interfere between them; their claims to precedence one over another rest on little better than sophistry, and unless determined, as they generally are, by the unacknowledged influence of considerations of utility, afford a free scope for the action of personal desires and partialities.

We must remember that only in these cases of conflict between secondary principles is it requisite that first principles should be appealed to. There is no case of moral obligation in which some secondary principle is not involved; and if only one, there can seldom be any real doubt which one it is, in the mind of any person by whom the principle itself is recognized. The author of this essay has reason for believing himself to be the first person who brought the word utilitarian into use. He did not invent it, but adopted it from a passing expression in Mr.

After using it as a designation for several years, he and others abandoned it from a growing dislike to anything resembling a badge or watchword of sectarian distinction. But as a name for one single opinion, not a set of opinions—to denote the recognition of utility as a standard, not any particular way of applying it—the term supplies a want in the language, and offers, in many cases, a convenient mode of avoiding tiresome circumlocution. An opponent, whose intellectual and moral fairness it is a pleasure to acknowledge the Rev. I submit, that he who saves another from drowning in order to kill him by torture afterwards, does not differ only in motive from him who does the same thing from duty or benevolence; the act itself is different.

The rescue of the man is, in the case supposed, only the necessary first step of an act far more atrocious than leaving him to drown would have been. Had Mr. Davis, by an oversight too common not to be quite venial, has in this case confounded the very different ideas of Motive and Intention. There is no point which utilitarian thinkers and Bentham pre-eminently have taken more pains to illustrate than this. The question is often asked, and properly so, in regard to any supposed moral standard—What is its sanction? It is a necessary part of moral philosophy to provide the answer to this question; which, though frequently assuming the shape of an objection to the utilitarian morality, as if it had some special applicability to that above others, really arises in regard to all standards.

It arises, in fact, whenever a person is called on to adopt a standard or refer morality to any basis on which he has not been accustomed to rest it. He says to himself, I feel that I am bound not to rob or murder, betray or deceive; but why am I bound to promote the general happiness? If my own happiness lies in something else, why may I not give that the preference?

If the view adopted by the utilitarian philosophy of the nature of the moral sense be correct, this difficulty will always present itself, until the influences which form moral character have taken the same hold of the principle which they have taken of some of the consequences—until, by the improvement of education, the feeling of unity with our fellow creatures shall be what it cannot be doubted that Christ intended it to be as deeply rooted in our character, and to our own consciousness as completely a part of our nature, as the horror of crime is in an ordinarily well-brought-up young person.

The principle of utility either has, or there is no reason why it might not have, all the sanctions which belong to any other system of morals. Those sanctions are either external or internal. Of the external sanctions it is not necessary to speak at any length. They are, the hope of favour and the fear of displeasure from our fellow creatures or from the Ruler of the Universe, along with whatever we may have of sympathy or affection for them or of love and awe of Him, inclining us to do His will independently of selfish consequences.

There is evidently no reason why all these motives for observance should not attach themselves to the utilitarian morality, as completely and as powerfully as to any other. Indeed, those of them which refer to our fellow creatures are sure to do so, in proportion to the amount of general intelligence; for whether there be any other ground of moral obligation than the general happiness or not, men do desire happiness; and however imperfect may be their own practice, they desire and commend all conduct in others towards themselves, by which they think their happiness is promoted.

John Stuart Mill: Ethics

With regard to the religious motive, if men believe, as most profess to do, in the goodness of God, those who think that conduciveness to the general happiness is the essence, or even only the criterion, of good, must necessarily believe that it is also that which God approves. The whole force therefore of external reward and punishment, whether physical or moral, and whether proceeding from God or from our fellow men, together with all that the capacities of human nature admit, of disinterested devotion to either, become available to enforce the utilitarian morality, in proportion as that morality is recognized; and the more powerfully, the more the appliances of education and general cultivation are bent to the purpose.

So far as to external sanctions. The internal sanction of duty, whatever our standard of duty may be, is one and the same—a feeling in our own mind; a pain, more or less intense, attendant on violation of duty, which in properly cultivated moral natures rises, in the more serious cases, into shrinking from it as an impossibility. This feeling, when disinterested, and connecting itself with the pure idea of duty, and not with some particular form of it, or with any of the merely accessory circumstances, is the essence of Conscience; though in that complex phenomenon as it actually exists, the simple fact is in general all encrusted over with collateral associations, derived from sympathy, from love, and still more from fear; from all the forms of religious feeling; from the recollections of childhood and of all our past life; from self-esteem, desire of the esteem of others, and occasionally even self-abasement.


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  • This extreme complication is, I apprehend, the origin of the sort of mystical character which, by a tendency of the human mind of which there are many other examples, is apt to be attributed to the idea of moral obligation, and which leads people to believe that the idea cannot possibly attach itself to any other objects than those which, by a supposed mysterious law, are found in our present experience to excite it.

    Its binding force, however, consists in the existence of a mass of feeling which must be broken through in order to do what violates our standard of right, and which, if we do nevertheless violate that standard, will probably have to be encountered afterwards in the form of remorse. Whatever theory we have of the nature or origin of conscience, this is what essentially constitutes it. The ultimate sanction, therefore, of all morality external motives apart being a subjective feeling in our own minds, I see nothing embarrassing to those whose standard is utility, in the question, what is the sanction of that particular standard?

    We may answer, the same as of all other moral standards—the conscientious feelings of mankind. Undoubtedly this sanction has no binding efficacy on those who do not possess the feelings it appeals to; but neither will these persons be more obedient to any other moral principle than to the utilitarian one. On them morality of any kind has no hold but through the external sanctions. Meanwhile the feelings exist, a feet in human nature, the reality of which, and the great power with which they are capable of acting on those in whom they have been duly cultivated, are proved by experience.

    No reason has ever been shown why they may not be cultivated to as great intensity in connection with the utilitarian, as with any other rule of morals. But is this danger confined to the utilitarian morality? Does the belief that moral obligation has its seat outside the mind make the feeling of it too strong to be got rid of? The fact is so far otherwise, that all moralists admit and lament the ease with which, in the generality of minds, conscience can be silenced or stifled.

    The question, Need I obey my conscience? Those whose conscientious feelings are so weak as to allow of their asking this question, if they answer it affirmatively, will not do so because they believe in the transcendental theory, but because of the external sanctions. It is not necessary, for the present purpose, to decide whether the feeling of duty is innate or implanted. Assuming it to be innate, it is an open question to what objects it naturally attaches itself; for the philosophic supporters of that theory are now agreed that the intuitive perception is of principles of morality, and not of the details.

    If there be anything innate in the matter, I see no reason why the feeling which is innate should not be that of regard to the pleasures and pains of others. If there is any principle of morals which is intuitively obligatory, I should say it must be that. If so, the intuitive ethics would coincide with the utilitarian, and there would be no further quarrel between them.

    Even as it is, the intuitive moralists, though they believe that there are other intuitive moral obligations, do already believe this to be one; for they unanimously hold that a large portion of morality turns upon the consideration due to the interests of our fellow creatures. Therefore, if the belief in the transcendental origin of moral obligation gives any additional efficacy to the internal sanction, it appears to me that the utilitarian principle has already the benefit of it. On the other hand, if, as is my own belief, the moral feelings are not innate, but acquired, they are not for that reason the less natural.

    It is natural to man to speak, to reason, to build cities, to cultivate the ground, though these are acquired faculties. The moral feelings are not indeed a part of our nature, in the sense of being in any perceptible degree present in all of us; but this, unhappily, is a fact admitted by those who believe the most strenuously in their transcendental origin. Like the other acquired capacities above referred to, the moral faculty, if not a part of our nature, is a natural outgrowth from it; capable, like them, in a certain small degree, of springing up spontaneously; and susceptible of being brought by cultivation to a high degree of development.

    Unhappily it is also susceptible, by a sufficient use of the external sanctions and of the force of early impressions, of being cultivated in almost any direction: so that there is hardly anything so absurd or so mischievous that it may not, by means of these influences, be made to act on the human mind with all the authority of conscience.

    To doubt that the same potency might be given by the same means to the principle of utility, even if it had no foundation in human nature, would be flying in the face of all experience. But moral associations which are wholly of artificial creation, when intellectual culture goes on, yield by degrees to the dissolving force of analysis: and if the feeling of duty, when associated with utility, would appear equally arbitrary; if there were no leading department of our nature, no powerful class of sentiments, with which that association would harmonize, which would make us feel it congenial, and incline us not only to foster it in others for which we have abundant interested motives , but also to cherish it in ourselves; if there were not, in short, a natural basis of sentiment for utilitarian morality, it might well happen that this association also, even after it had been implanted by education, might be analysed away.

    But there is this basis of powerful natural sentiment; and this it is which, when once the general happiness is recognized as the ethical standard, will constitute the strength of the utilitarian morality. This firm foundation is that of the social feelings of mankind; the desire to be in unity with our fellow creatures, which is already a powerful principle in human nature, and happily one of those which tend to become stronger, even without express inculcation, from the influences of advancing civilization. The social state is at once so natural, so necessary, and so habitual to man, that, except in some unusual circumstances or by an effort of voluntary abstraction, he never conceives himself otherwise than as a member of a body; and this association is riveted more and more, as mankind are further removed from the state of savage independence.

    Now, society between human beings, except in the relation of master and slave, is manifestly impossible on any other footing than that the interests of all are to be consulted. Society between equals can only exist on the understanding that the interests of all are to be regarded equally. And since in all states of civilization, every person, except an absolute monarch, has equals, every one is obliged to live on these terms with somebody; and in every age some advance is made towards a state in which it will be impossible to live permanently on other terms with anybody.

    They are under a necessity of conceiving themselves as at least abstaining from all the grosser injuries, and if only for their own protection. They are also familiar with the fact of co-operating with others, and proposing to themselves a collective, not an individual, interest, as the aim at least for the time being of their actions. So long as they are co-operating, their ends are identified with those of others; there is at least a temporary feeling that the interests of others are their own interests.

    Not only does all strengthening of social ties, and all healthy growth of society, give to each individual a stronger personal interest in practically consulting the welfare of others; it also leads him to identify his feelings more and more with their good, or at least with an ever greater degree of practical consideration for it. The good of others becomes to him a thing naturally and necessarily to be attended to, like any of the physical conditions of our existence. Now, whatever amount of this feeling a person has, he is urged by the strongest motives both of interest and of sympathy to demonstrate it, and to the utmost of his power encourage it in others; and even if he has none of it himself, he is as greatly interested as any one else that others should have it.

    Consequently, the smallest germs of the feeling are laid hold of and nourished by the contagion of sympathy and the influences of education; and a complete web of corroborative association is woven round it, by the powerful agency of the external sanctions. This mode of conceiving ourselves and human life, as civilization goes on, is felt to be more and more natural. Every step in political improvement renders it more so, by removing the sources of opposition of interest, and levelling those inequalities of legal privilege between individuals or classes, owing to which there are large portions of mankind whose happiness it is still practicable to disregard.

    In an improving state of the human mind, the influences are constantly on the increase, which tend to generate in each individual a feeling of unity with all the rest; which feeling, if perfect, would make him never think of, or desire, any beneficial condition for himself, in the benefits of which they are not included. If we now suppose this feeling of unity to be taught as a religion, and the whole force of education, of institutions, and of opinion, directed, as it once was in the case of religion, to make every person grow up from infancy surrounded on all sides both by the profession and by the practice of it, I think that no one, who can realize this conception, will feel any misgiving about the sufficiency of the ultimate sanction for the Happiness morality.

    To any ethical student who finds the realization difficult, I recommend, as a means of facilitating it, the second of M. I entertain the strongest objections to the system of politics and morals set forth in that treatise; but I think it has superabundantly shown the possibility of giving to the service of humanity, even without the aid of belief in a Providence, both the physical power and the social efficacy of a religion; making it take hold of human life, and colour all thought, feeling, and action, in a manner of which the greatest ascendency ever exercised by any religion may be but a type and foretaste; and of which the danger is, not that it should be insufficient, but that it should be so excessive as to interfere unduly with human freedom and individuality.

    Neither is it necessary to the feeling which constitutes the binding force of the utilitarian morality on those who recognize it, to wait for those social influences which would make its obligation felt by mankind at large. In the comparatively early state of human advancement in which we now live, a person cannot indeed feel that entireness of sympathy with all others, which would make any real discordance in the general direction of their conduct in life impossible; but already a person in whom the social feeling is at all developed, cannot bring himself to think of the rest of his fellow creatures as struggling rivals with him for the means of happiness, whom he must desire to see defeated in their object in order that he may succeed in his.

    The deeply-rooted conception which every individual even now has of himself as a social being, tends to make him feel it one of his natural wants that there should be harmony between his feelings and aims and those of his fellow creatures. If differences of opinion and of mental culture make it impossible for him to share many of their actual feelings-perhaps make him denounce and defy those feelings-he still needs to be conscious that his real aim and theirs do not conflict; that he is not opposing himself to what they really wish for, namely, their own good, but is, on the contrary, promoting it.

    This feeling in most individuals is much inferior in strength to their selfish feelings, and is often wanting altogether. But to those who have it, it possesses all the characters of a natural feeling. It does not present itself to their minds as a superstition of education, or a law despotically imposed by the power of society, but as an attribute which it would not be well for them to be without. This conviction is the ultimate sanction of the greatest-happiness morality. This it is which makes any mind, of well-developed feelings, work with, and not against, the outward motives to care for others, afforded by what I have called the external sanctions; and when those sanctions are wanting, or act in an opposite direction, constitutes in itself a powerful internal binding force, in proportion to the sensitiveness and thoughtfulness of the character; since few but those whose mind is a moral blank, could bear to lay out their course of life on the plan of paying no regard to others except so far as their own private interest compels.

    It has already been remarked, that questions of ultimate ends do not admit of proof, in the ordinary acceptation of the term. To be incapable of proof by reasoning is common to all first principles; to the first premises of our knowledge, as well as to those of our conduct. But the former, being matters of fact, may be the subject of a direct appeal to the faculties which judge of fact—namely, our senses, and our internal consciousness. Can an appeal be made to the same faculties on questions of practical ends?

    Or by what other faculty is cognizance taken of them? Questions about ends are, in other words, questions what things are desirable. The utilitarian doctrine is, that happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things being only desirable as means to that end. What ought to be required of this doctrine—what conditions is it requisite that the doctrine should fulfil—to make good its claim to be believed? The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible, is that people actually see it.

    The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it: and so of the other sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible to produce that anything is desirable, is that people do actually desire it. If the end which the utilitarian doctrine proposes to itself were not, in theory and in practice, acknowledged to be an end, nothing could ever convince any person that it was so.

    No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable, desires his own happiness. But it has not, by this alone, proved itself to be the sole criterion. To do that, it would seem, by the same rule, necessary to show, not only that people desire happiness, but that they never desire anything else.

    Now it is palpable that they do desire things which, in common language, are decidedly distinguished from happiness. They desire, for example, virtue, and the absence of vice, no less really than pleasure and the absence of pain. The desire of virtue is not as universal, but it is as authentic a fact, as the desire of happiness. And hence the opponents of the utilitarian standard deem that they have a right to infer that there are other ends of human action besides happiness, and that happiness is not the standard of approbation and disapprobation.

    But does the utilitarian doctrine deny that people desire virtue, or maintain that virtue is not a thing to be desired? The very reverse. It maintains not only that virtue is to be desired, but that it is to be desired disinterestedly, for itself. This opinion is not, in the smallest degree, a departure from the Happiness principle.

    The ingredients of happiness are very various, and each of them is desirable in itself, and not merely when considered as swelling an aggregate. The principle of utility does not mean that any given pleasure, as music, for instance, or any given exemption from pain, as for example health, are to be looked upon as means to a collective something termed happiness, and to be desired on that account.

    They are desired and desirable in and for themselves; besides being means, they are a part of the end. Virtue, according to the utilitarian doctrine, is not naturally and originally part of the end, but it is capable of becoming so; and in those who love it disinterestedly it has become so, and is desired and cherished, not as a means to happiness, but as a part of their happiness. To illustrate this farther, we may remember that virtue is not the only thing, originally a means, and which if it were not a means to anything else, would be and remain indifferent, but which by association with what it is a means to, comes to be desired for itself, and that too with the utmost intensity.

    What, for example, shall we say of the love of money? There is nothing originally more desirable about money than about any heap of glittering pebbles. Its worth is solely that of the things which it will buy; the desires for other things than itself, which it is a means of gratifying.

    Yet the love of money is not only one of the strongest moving forces of human life, but money is, in many cases, desired in and for itself; the desire to possess it is often stronger than the desire to use it, and goes on increasing when all the desires which point to ends beyond it, to be compassed by it, are falling off. It may be then said truly, that money is desired not for the sake of an end, but as part of the end. The same may be said of the majority of the great objects of human life—power, for example, or fame; except that to each of these there is a certain amount of immediate pleasure annexed, which has at least the semblance of being naturally inherent in them; a thing which cannot be said of money.

    Still, however, the strongest natural attraction, both of power and of fame, is the immense aid they give to the attainment of our other wishes; and it is the strong association thus generated between them and all our objects of desire, which gives to the direct desire of them the intensity it often assumes, so as in some characters to surpass in strength all other desires. In these cases the means have become a part of the end, and a more important part of it than any of the things which they are means to.

    What was once desired as an instrument for the attainment of happiness, has come to be desired for its own sake. In being desired for its own sake it is, however, desired as part of happiness. The person is made, or thinks he would be made, happy by its mere possession; and is made unhappy by failure to obtain it. The desire of it is not a different thing from the desire of happiness, any more than the love of music, or the desire of health. They are included in happiness. They are some of the elements of which the desire of happiness is made up.

    Happiness is not an abstract idea, but a concrete whole; and these are some of its parts. And the utilitarian standard sanctions and approves their being so.

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    Life would be a poor thing, very ill provided with sources of happiness, if there were not this provision of nature, by which things originally indifferent, but conducive to, or otherwise associated with, the satisfaction of our primitive desires, become in themselves sources of pleasure more valuable than the primitive pleasures, both in permanency, in the space of human existence that they are capable of covering, and even in intensity. Virtue, according to the utilitarian conception, is a good of this description. There was no original desire of it, or motive to it, save its conduciveness to pleasure, and especially to protection from pain.

    But through the association thus formed, it may be felt a good in itself, and desired as such with as great intensity as any other good; and with this difference between it and the love of money, of power, or of fame, that all of these may, and often do, render the individual noxious to the other members of the society to which he belongs, whereas there is nothing which makes him so much a blessing to them as the cultivation of the disinterested, love of virtue. And consequently, the utilitarian standard, while it tolerates and approves those other acquired desires, up to the point beyond which they would be more injurious to the general happiness than promotive of it, enjoins and requires the cultivation of the love of virtue up to the greatest strength possible, as being above all things important to the general happiness.

    It results from the preceding considerations, that there is in reality nothing desired except happiness. Whatever is desired otherwise than as a means to some end beyond itself, and ultimately to happiness, is desired as itself a part of happiness, and is not desired for itself until it has become so. Those who desire virtue for its own sake, desire it either because the consciousness of it is a pleasure, or because the consciousness of being without it is a pain, or for both reasons united; as in truth the pleasure and pain seldom exist separately, but almost always together, the same person feeling pleasure in the degree of virtue attained, and pain in not having attained more.

    If one of these gave him no pleasure, and the other no pain, he would not love or desire virtue, or would desire it only for the other benefits which it might produce to himself or to persons whom he cared for. We have now, then, an answer to the question, of what sort of proof the principle of utility is susceptible. If the opinion which I have now stated is psychologically true—if human nature is so constituted as to desire nothing which is not either a part of happiness or a means of happiness, we can have no other proof, and we require no other, that these are the only things desirable.

    If so, happiness is the sole end of human action, and the promotion of it the test by which to judge of all human conduct; from whence it necessarily follows that it must be the criterion of morality, since a part is included in the whole. And now to decide whether this is really so; whether mankind do desire nothing for itself but that which is a pleasure to them, or of which the absence is a pain; we have evidently arrived at a question of fact and experience, dependent, like all similar questions, upon evidence.

    It can only be determined by practised self-consciousness and self-observation, assisted by observation of others. I believe that these sources of evidence, impartially consulted, will declare that desiring a thing and finding it pleasant, aversion to it and thinking of it as painful, are phenomena entirely inseparable, or rather two parts of the same phenomenon; in strictness of language, two different modes of naming the same psychological fact: that to think of an object as desirable unless for the sake of its consequences , and to think of it as pleasant, are one and the same thing; and that to desire anything, except in proportion as the idea of it is pleasant, is a physical and metaphysical impossibility.

    So obvious does this appear to me, that I expect it will hardly be disputed: and the objection made will be, not that desire can possibly be directed to anything ultimately except pleasure and exemption from pain, but that the will is a different thing from desire; that a person of confirmed virtue, or any other person whose purposes are fixed, carries out his purposes without any thought of the pleasure he has in contemplating them, or expects to derive from their fulfilment; and persists in acting on them, even though these pleasures are much diminished, by changes in his character or decay of his passive sensibilities, or are outweighed by the pains which the pursuit of the purposes may bring upon him.

    If any argument is really wrong or harmful, the public will judge it as wrong or harmful, and then those arguments cannot be sustained and will be excluded. Mill argued that even any arguments which are used in justifying murder or rebellion against the government shouldn't be politically suppressed or socially persecuted. According to him, if rebellion is really necessary, people should rebel; if murder is truly proper, it should be allowed.

    But, the way to express those arguments should be a public speech or writing, not in a way that causes actual harm to others. This is the harm principle. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. In the majority opinion, Holmes writes:. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

    Holmes suggested that shouting out "Fire! Nowadays, Mill's argument is generally accepted by many democratic countries, and they have laws at least guided by the harm principle. For example, in American law some exceptions limit free speech such as obscenity, defamation, breach of peace, and "fighting words". Mill, an employee for the British East India Company from to , [45] argued in support of what he called a 'benevolent despotism' with regard to the colonies. To characterize any conduct whatever towards a barbarous people as a violation of the law of nations, only shows that he who so speaks has never considered the subject.

    In , Mill sent an anonymous letter which came to be known under the title " The Negro Question " , [48] in rebuttal to Thomas Carlyle 's anonymous letter to Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country in which Carlyle argued for slavery. Mill supported abolition in the United States. This absolutely extreme case of the law of force, condemned by those who can tolerate almost every other form of arbitrary power, and which, of all others, presents features the most revolting to the feeling of all who look at it from an impartial position, was the law of civilized and Christian England within the memory of persons now living: and in one half of Angle-Saxon America three or four years ago, not only did slavery exist, but the slave trade, and the breeding of slaves expressly for it, was a general practice between slave states.

    Yet not only was there a greater strength of sentiment against it, but, in England at least, a less amount either of feeling or of interest in favour of it, than of any other of the customary abuses of force: for its motive was the love of gain, unmixed and undisguised: and those who profited by it were a very small numerical fraction of the country, while the natural feeling of all who were not personally interested in it, was unmitigated abhorrence.

    Mill's view of history was that right up until his time "the whole of the female" and "the great majority of the male sex" were simply "slaves". He countered arguments to the contrary, arguing that relations between sexes simply amounted to "the legal subordination of one sex to the other — [which] is wrong itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality.

    His book The Subjection of Women , published is one of the earliest written on this subject by a male author. There, Mill comments on three major facets of women's lives that he felt are hindering them: society and gender construction, education, and marriage. He argued that the oppression of women was one of the few remaining relics from ancient times, a set of prejudices that severely impeded the progress of humanity. As a Member of Parliament, Mill introduced an unsuccessful amendment to the Reform Bill to substitute the word 'person' in place of 'man'.

    The canonical statement of Mill's utilitarianism can be found in Utilitarianism. This philosophy has a long tradition, although Mill's account is primarily influenced by Jeremy Bentham and Mill's father James Mill. John Stuart Mill believed in the philosophy of Utilitarianism.

    He would describe Utilitarianism as the principle that holds "that actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. However, Mill asserts that upon reflection, even when we value virtues for selfish reasons we are in fact cherishing them as a part of our happiness.

    Jeremy Bentham's famous formulation of utilitarianism is known as the "greatest-happiness principle". It holds that one must always act so as to produce the greatest aggregate happiness among all sentient beings, within reason. In a similar vein, Mill's method of determining the best utility is that a moral agent, when given the choice between two or more actions, ought to choose the action that contributes most to maximizes the total happiness in the world.

    Happiness in this context is understood as the production of pleasure or privation of pain. Given that determining the action that produces the most utility is not always so clear cut, Mill suggests that the utilitarian moral agent, when attempting to rank the utility of different actions, should refer to the general experience of persons. That is, if people generally experience more happiness following action X than they do action Y, the utilitarian should conclude that action X produces more utility than, and is thus favorable to, action Y.


    1. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism (Part 2) | Introduction to Philosophy.
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    Utilitarianism is built upon the basis of consequentialism , that is, the means are justified based solely off the result of said actions. The overarching goal of Utilitarianism — the ideal consequence — is to achieve the "greatest good for the greatest number as the end result of human action". To that extent, the Utilitarianism that Mill is describing is a default lifestyle that he believes is what people who have not studied a specific opposing field of ethics would naturally and subconsciously utilize when faced with decision.

    Utilitarianism is thought of by some of its activists to be a more developed and overarching ethical theory of Kant's belief in good will however, and not just some default cognitive process of humans. Where Kant would argue that reason can only be used properly by good will, Mill would say that the only way to universally create fair laws and systems would be to step back to the consequences, whereby Kant's ethical theories become based around the ultimate good — utility. Mill's major contribution to utilitarianism is his argument for the qualitative separation of pleasures.

    Bentham treats all forms of happiness as equal, whereas Mill argues that intellectual and moral pleasures higher pleasures are superior to more physical forms of pleasure lower pleasures. Mill distinguishes between happiness and contentment, claiming that the former is of higher value than the latter, a belief wittily encapsulated in the statement that "it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.

    This made Mill believe that "our only ultimate end" [57] is happiness. One unique part of Mill's Utilitarian view, that is not seen in others, is the idea of higher and lower pleasures. Mill explains the different pleasures as:. If I am asked, what I mean by difference of quality in pleasures, or what makes one pleasure more valuable than another, merely as a pleasure, except its being greater in amount, there is but one possible answer.

    Of two pleasures, if there be one to which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference […] that is the more desirable pleasure. He defines higher pleasures as mental, moral, and aesthetic pleasures, and lower pleasures as being more sensational. He believed that higher pleasures should be seen as preferable to lower pleasures since they have a greater quality in virtue.

    He holds that pleasures gained in activity are of a higher quality than those gained passively. Mill defines the difference between higher and lower forms of pleasure with the principle that those who have experienced both tend to prefer one over the other. This is, perhaps, in direct contrast with Bentham's statement that "Quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry", [60] that, if a simple child's game like hopscotch causes more pleasure to more people than a night at the opera house, it is more imperative upon a society to devote more resources to propagating hopscotch than running opera houses.

    Mill's argument is that the "simple pleasures" tend to be preferred by people who have no experience with high art, and are therefore not in a proper position to judge. Mill also argues that people who, for example, are noble or practice philosophy, benefit society more than those who engage in individualist practices for pleasure, which are lower forms of happiness.

    It is not the agent's own greatest happiness that matters "but the greatest amount of happiness altogether". In the General Remarks portion of his essay he speaks how next to no progress has been made when it comes to judging what is right and what is wrong of morality and if there is such a thing as moral instinct which he argues that there may not be. However he agrees that in general "Our moral faculty, according to all those of its interpreters who are entitled to the name of thinkers, supplies us only with the general principles of moral judgments". He quotes Utilitarianism as "The greatest happiness principle" And defines this theory by saying that pleasure and no pain are the only inherently good things in the world and expands on it by saying 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. He also says in this chapter that the happiness principle is based not exclusively on the individual but mainly on the community. Mill also defends the idea of a "strong utilitarian conscience i. This causes us to care about the happiness of others, as well as the happiness of complete strangers.

    But this desire also causes us to experience pain when we perceive harm to other people. He believes in internal sanctions that make us experience guilt and appropriate our actions. These internal sanctions make us want to do good because we do not want to feel guilty for our actions. Happiness is our ultimate end because it is our duty. He argues that we do not need to be constantly motivated by the concern of people's happiness because the most of the actions done by people are done out of good intention, and the good of the world is made up of the good of the people.

    In Mill's fourth chapter he speaks of what proofs of Utility are affected. He starts this chapter off by saying that all of his claims cannot be backed up by reasoning. He claims that the only proof that something brings one pleasure is if someone finds it pleasurable. Next he talks about how morality is the basic way to achieve happiness.

    He also discusses in this chapter that Utilitarianism is beneficial for virtue. He says that "it maintains not only that virtue is to be desired, but that it is to be desired disinterestedly, for itself. He contemplates the question of whether justice is something distinct from Utility or not. He reasons this question in several different ways and finally comes to the conclusion that in certain cases justice is essential for Utility, but in others social duty is far more important than justice.

    Mill believes that "justice must give way to some other moral principle, but that what is just in ordinary cases is, by reason of that other principle, not just in the particular case. The qualitative account of happiness that Mill advocates thus sheds light on his account presented in On Liberty. As Mill suggests in that text, utility is to be conceived in relation to humanity "as a progressive being", which includes the development and exercise of rational capacities as we strive to achieve a "higher mode of existence".

    The rejection of censorship and paternalism is intended to provide the necessary social conditions for the achievement of knowledge and the greatest ability for the greatest number to develop and exercise their deliberative and rational capacities. Mill redefines the definition of happiness as; "the ultimate end, for the sake of which all other things are desirable whether we are considering our own good or that of other people is an existence as free as possible from pain and as rich as possible in enjoyments".

    While John Stuart Mill is not a standard act or rule utilitarian, he is a minimizing utilitarian, which "affirms that it would be desirable to maximize happiness for the greatest number, but not that we are not morally required to do so". Mill's thesis distinguishes between higher and lower pleasures.

    He frequently discusses the importance of acknowledgement of higher pleasures. Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. He also accepted the principle of legislative intervention for the purpose of animal welfare. Given an equal tax rate regardless of income, Mill agreed that inheritance should be taxed. A utilitarian society would agree that everyone should be equal one way or another.

    Therefore, receiving inheritance would put one ahead of society unless taxed on the inheritance. Considering public charities boards such as a government will disburse the money equally. However, a private charity board like a church would disburse the monies fairly to those who are in more need than others.

    John Stuart Mill - Wikipedia

    Later he altered his views toward a more socialist bent, adding chapters to his Principles of Political Economy in defence of a socialist outlook, and defending some socialist causes. Nonetheless, some of his views on the idea of flat taxation remained, [75] albeit altered in the third edition of the Principles of Political Economy to reflect a concern for differentiating restrictions on "unearned" incomes, which he favoured, and those on "earned" incomes, which he did not favour. Mill's Principles , first published in , was one of the most widely read of all books on economics in the period.

    In the case of Oxford University it was the standard text until , when it was replaced by Marshall's Principles of Economics. His main objection of socialism was on that of what he saw its destruction of competition stating, "I utterly dissent from the most conspicuous and vehement part of their teaching — their declamations against competition.

    According to Mill, a socialist society would only be attainable through the provision of basic education for all, promoting economic democracy instead of capitalism , in the manner of substituting capitalist businesses with worker cooperatives. The form of association, however, which if mankind continue to improve, must be expected in the end to predominate, is not that which can exist between a capitalist as chief, and work-people without a voice in the management, but the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital with which they carry on their operations, and working under managers elected and removable by themselves.

    Mill's major work on political democracy, Considerations on Representative Government , defends two fundamental principles: extensive participation by citizens and enlightened competence of rulers. But in chapter 3 he presents what is still one of the most eloquent cases for the value of participation by all citizens. He believed that the incompetence of the masses could eventually be overcome if they were given a chance to take part in politics, especially at the local level. Mill is one of the few political philosophers ever to serve in government as an elected official.

    In his three years in Parliament, he was more willing to compromise than the "radical" principles expressed in his writing would lead one to expect. Mill demonstrated an early insight into the value of the natural world — in particular in Book IV, chapter VI of Principles of Political Economy : "Of the Stationary State" [84] [85] in which Mill recognised wealth beyond the material, and argued that the logical conclusion of unlimited growth was destruction of the environment and a reduced quality of life.

    He concluded that a stationary state could be preferable to unending economic growth:. I cannot, therefore, regard the stationary states of capital and wealth with the unaffected aversion so generally manifested towards it by political economists of the old school. If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a better or a happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compel them to it.

    Mill regarded economic development as a function of land, labour and capital. While land and labour are the two original factors of production, capital is "a stock, previously accumulated of the products of former labour. It is productive labour that is productive of wealth and capital accumulation. Profits earned by employing unproductive labours are merely transfers of income; unproductive labour does not generate wealth or income". It is productive labourers who do productive consumption.

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    Productive consumption is that "which maintains and increase the productive capacity of the community. Mill supported the Malthusian theory of population. By population he meant the number of the working class only. He was therefore concerned about the growth in number of labourers who worked for hire. He believed that population control was essential for improving the condition of the working class so that they might enjoy the fruits of the technological progress and capital accumulation. Mill advocated birth control.

    Utilitarianism - John Stuart Mill

    In Mill and a friend were arrested while distributing pamphlets on birth control by Francis Place to women in working class areas. According to Mill, supply is very elastic in response to wages. Wages generally exceed the minimum subsistence level, and are paid out of capital. Hence, wages are limited by existing capital for paying wages. Thus, wage per worker can be derived by dividing the total circulating capital by the size of the working population. Wages can increase by an increase in the capital used in paying wages, or by decrease in the number of workers.

    If wages rise, supply of labour will rise. Competition among workers not only brings down wages, but also keeps some workers out of employment. This is based on Mill's notion that "demand for commodities is not demand for labourers". It means that income invested as advances of wages to labour creates employment, and not income spent on consumer goods. An increase in consumption causes a decline in investment. So increased investment leads to increases in the wage fund and to economic progress.

    In , Mill recanted his support of the Wage-Fund Doctrine due to recognition that capital is not necessarily fixed in that it can be supplemented through "income of the employer which might otherwise go into saving or be spent on consumption. The limitation on the growth of industrial capacity placed a limit on the number of workers who could be accommodated more than the limit on capital. Furthermore, English agriculture "had reached the condition of diminishing returns. Given the improvements in technology and productivity that followed , the original reasons that gave rise to the doctrine were seen to be unusual and not the basis for a universal law.

    According to Mill, the rate of capital accumulation depends on: 1 "the amount of fund from which saving can be made" or "the size of the net produce of the industry", and 2 the "disposition to save". Capital is the result of savings, and the savings come from the "abstinence from present consumption for the sake of future goods".

    Although capital is the result of saving, it is nevertheless consumed. This means saving is spending. Since saving depends on the net produce of the industry, it grows with profits and rent which go into making the net produce. On the other hand, the disposition to save depends on 1 the rate of profit and 2 the desire to save, or what Mill called "effective desire of accumulation". However, profit also depends on the cost of labour, and the rate of profit is the ratio of profits to wages.

    When profits rise or wages fall, the rate of profits increases, which in turn increases the rate of capital accumulation. Similarly, it is the desire to save which tends to increase the rate of capital accumulation. According to Mill, the ultimate tendency in an economy is for the rate of profit to decline due to diminishing returns in agriculture and increase in population at a Malthusian rate [90].

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the town in Australia, see Stuart Mill, Victoria. Serving with Robert Grosvenor. Harriet Taylor m. Key proponents. Types of utilitarianism. Key concepts. Demandingness objection Mere addition paradox Paradox of hedonism Utility monster. Related topics. Rational choice theory Game theory Social choice Neoclassical economics. Main article: A System of Logic. History of liberalism Contributions to liberal theory. Regional variants. Democratic capitalism Liberal bias in academia.

    Main article: On Liberty. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Utilitarianism book. Main article: Principles of Political Economy. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. September Learn how and when to remove this template message.

    Charles Babbage: Pioneer of the Computer. Princeton University Press. What effect did Babbages Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers have? Generally his book received little attention as it not greatly concerned with such traditional problems of economics as the nature of 'value'. Actually the effect was considerable, his discussion of factories and manufactures entering the main currents of economic thought. Mill's reception of Tocqueville". History of Political Thought. Retrieved 11 June Mises Institute ed. Max Weber and His Contempories.

    Zalta, Edward N. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 23 July On Liberty is a rational justification of the freedom of the individual in opposition to the claims of the state to impose unlimited control and is thus a defense of the rights of the individual against the state.

    Retrieved 31 July UK Parliament. The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism. Beacon Press. Rothbard 1 February Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved 21 January John Stuart Mill: A Biography. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April Writings on India. Edited by John M. Robson, Martin Moir and Zawahir Moir. Mill's Indians after the "Mutiny " ". Political Research Quarterly. New Quest , no. The London Gazette. Sher, ed. Secular Review. Raeder John Stuart Mill and the Religion of Humanity.

    University of Missouri Press. Comte welcomed the prospect of being attacked publicly for his irreligion, he said, as this would permit him to clarify the nonatheistic nature of his and Mill's "atheism". Oxford University Press. A letter John wrote from Forde Abbey when he was eight years old casually mentions in his general report of his activities that he too had been to Thorncombe parish church, so even when Bentham had home-field advantage, the boy was still receiving a Christian spiritual formation.

    Indeed, Mill occasionally attended Christian worship services during his teen years and thereafter for the rest of his life. Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty". Retrieved 16 July Gertrude Himmelfarb, UK: Penguin, , pp. On Liberty. Ticknor and Fields. Mill's Career at the East India Company". In Crisp, Roger ed. The Oxford handbook of the history of ethics. The Modern Library. February — via www. Engels, and Michael K. Barnes and Noble, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.