David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Business Ethics 2 (2):135 - 155 (1983)
John Stuart Mill proposed that all policy precepts, be they in the areas of morality or prudence or aesthetics, are all subordinate to the precepts of the Art of Life. The value which he assumes in defining the Art of Life is the Principle of Utility. This principle, being normative rather than fact, can admit of no proof based solely on deductive inference. Yet Mill proposed considerations that he believed capable of rationally persuading one to accept his principle as the basic principle for the Art of Life. This paper aims to evaluate this argument. In particular, it tries to show that a crucial step, often thought to be a logical howler, is not to be so simply dismissed. It is shown that if one accepts certain theses from Mill's philosophy of science and of social science, concerning the composition of causes, then the crucial step is fully justified. It is also suggested that these theses of Mill's philosophy of science are mistaken. So Mill's proof of utility is, after all, unsound, but the reconstruction proposed shows it to be much more plausible and much more philosophically interesting than is often thought.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Neil Cooper (1969). Mill's "Proof" of the Principle of Utility. Mind 78 (310):278-279.
G. W. Smith (1996). David Lyons, Rights, Welfare, and Mill's Moral Theory, New York, Oxford University Press, 1994, Pp. 224;Necip Fikri Alican, Mill's Principle of Utility: A Defense of John Stuart Mill's Notorious Proof, Amsterdam, Rodopi B.V. Editions, 1994, Pp. Xv + 240. [REVIEW] Utilitas 8 (01):127-.
Sheldon R. Smith (2010). Elementary Classical Mechanics and the Principle of the Composition of Causes. Synthese 173 (3):353 - 373.
Fred Wilson (1982). Mill's Proof That Happiness is the Criterion of Morality. Journal of Business Ethics 1 (1):59 - 72.
Shia Moser (1963). A Comment on Mill's Argument for Utilitarianism. Inquiry 6 (1-4):308-318.
Geoffrey Scarre (1984). Proof and Implication in Mill's Philosophy of Logic. History and Philosophy of Logic 5 (1):19-37.
R. F. Atkinson (1957). J. S. Mill's "Proof" of the Principle of Utility. Philosophy 32 (121):158 - 167.
D. D. Raphael (1994). J. S. Mill's Proof of the Principle of Utility. Utilitas 6 (01):55-.
Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (2001). Mill's “Proof” of the Principle of Utility: A More Than Half-Hearted Defense. Social Philosophy and Policy 18 (02):330-.
Dale E. Miller (2004). On Millgram on Mill. Utilitas 16 (1):96-108.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads18 ( #87,722 of 1,096,447 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #134,922 of 1,096,447 )
How can I increase my downloads?