The Utility of Quality: An Understanding of Mill

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):317 - 325 (1974)


Henry Sidgwick remarked in The Methods of Ethics regarding pleasure that the “distinctions of quality that Mill and others urge may … be admitted as grounds of preference, but only in so far as they can be resolved into distinctions of quantity.” Sidgwick had not believed that Mill intended that resolution and commented in his history that “it is hard to see in what sense a man who of two alternative pleasures chooses the less pleasant on the ground of its superiority in quality can be affirmed to take ‘greatest’ happiness or pleasure as his standard of preference.” Though Mill's view has been discussed rather often, the state of the criticism has more or less stabilized with Sidgwick's conclusion.

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A Study of ethical principles.James Seth - 1897 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 43:84-90.

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