Supererogation is the theory that some acts go beyond the call of duty. They are praiseworthy, but their omission is not blameworthy. Notice that supererogation has to do with praise and blame as well as with what is a duty or morally obligatory. Moral duty requires a moral system on the basis of which duty or obligation is assigned. Utilitarianism can provide a criterion of moral obligation, and it can also provide a criterion for moral praise and blame. However, there (...) is no necessity that the utilitarian criteria for praise and blame should be precisely correlated with its criteria of the morally obligatory and permissible. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill was the leading British philosopher of the nineteenth century and his famous essay Utilitarianism is the most influential statement of this philosophical approach. Henry West's introduction to utilitarianism serves as both a commentary to, and interpretation of, the text.