Mill, Intuitions and Normativity

Utilitas 25 (1):46-65 (2013)
It is the purpose of this article to offer an account of Mill's metaethics. Expanding upon clues given recently by Dale Miller, and previously by John Skorupski, I suggest that when it comes to the foundations of his philosophy, Mill might share more with the intuitionists than we are accustomed to think. Common wisdom holds that Mill had no time for the normativity of intuitions. I wish to dispute, or at least temper, this dogma, by claiming that Mill's attitude towards intuitions is far more complex and ambivalent than is generally thought. I argue that, according to Mill, our belief in the reliability of inductive moves and apparent memories, as well as the desirability of pleasure, is vindicated by something akin to intuition. Although his endorsement of the normativity of these intuitions might seem to be in tension with the arguments he offers against the, this tension is only apparent.
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DOI 10.1017/S095382081200026X
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References found in this work BETA
Derek Parfit (2011). On What Matters. Oxford University Press.
Ronald Dworkin (2011). Justice for Hedgehogs. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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John V. Strong (1978). John Stuart Mill, John Herschel, and the 'Probability of Causes'. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1978:31-41.
Alan Ryan (1974). J. S. Mill. Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Dale E. Miller (2011). Mill, Rule Utilitarianism, and the Incoherence Objection. In Ben Eggleston, Dale E. Miller & D. Weinstein (eds.), John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life. Oxford University Press 94.

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