The occasion of this talk was a panel discussion ending the conference on “Radical Politics” sponsored by The University of North Dakota’s chapter to Students for a Democratic Society. Many of the members are self-described Marxists and Anarchists. It is they whom I address here.
The 'Art of Life' is John Stuart Mill's name for his account of practical reason. In this volume, eleven leading scholars elucidate this fundamental, but widely neglected, element of Mill's thought. Mill divides the Art of Life into three 'departments': 'Morality, Prudence or Policy, and Æsthetics'. In the volume's first section, Rex Martin, David Weinstein, Ben Eggleston, and Dale E. Miller investigate the relation between the departments of morality and prudence. Their papers ask whether Mill is a rule utilitarian and, (...) if so, whether his practical philosophy must be incoherent. The second section contains papers by Jonathan Riley and Wendy Donner, who explore the relation between the departments of morality and aesthetics. They discuss issues ranging from supererogation to aesthetic pleasure and humanity's relationship with nature. -/- The papers in the third section consider the Art of Life's axiological first principle, the principle of utility. Elijah Millgram contends that Mill's own life refutes his claim that the Art of Life has a single axiological first principle. Philip Kitcher maintains that Mill has a dynamic axiology requiring us to continually refine our conception of the good. In the final section, three papers address what it means to put the Art of Life into practice. Robert Haraldsson locates an 'Art of Ethics' in On Liberty that is in tension with the Art of Life. Nadia Urbinati plumbs the classical roots of Mill's view of the good life. Finally, Colin Heydt develops Mill's suggestion that we regard our own lives as works of art. (shrink)
This essay examines D. G. Ritchie's claim that Principally, it endeavours to determine what Ritchie means by and what kind of utilitarianism he thinks evolutionary theory vindicates. With respect to the kind of utilitarianism vindicated, I will show how he tries to fortify Millian liberal utilitarianism with new liberal values such as self-realization and common good. Ritchie's intellectual debts were eclectic and included mostly Mill, T. H. Green, Hegel and Herbert Spencer.
This paper examines the undervalued role of Herbert Spencer in Sidgwick's thinking. Sidgwick recognized Spencer's utilitarianism, but criticized him on the ground that he tried to deduce utilitarianism from evolutionary theory. In analysing these criticisms, this paper concludes that Spencer's deductive methodology was in fact closer to Sidgwick's empiricist position than Sidgwick realized. The real source of Sidgwick's unhappiness withSpencer lies with the substance of Spencer's utilitarianism, namely its espousal of indefeasible moral rights.