Hutcheson's Deceptive Hedonism

Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):445-467 (2010)

Authors
Dale Dorsey
University of Kansas
Abstract
Francis Hutcheson’s theory of value is often characterized as a precursor to the qualitative hedonism of John Stuart Mill. The interpretation of Mill as a qualitative hedonist has come under fire recently; some have argued that he is, in fact, a hedonist of no variety at all.1 Others have argued that his hedonism is as non-qualitative as Bentham’s.2 The purpose of this essay is not to critically engage the various interpretations of Mill’s value theory. Rather, I hope to show that Hutcheson should not be read as a qualitative hedonist. The evidence for Hutcheson as a qualitative hedonist is strong and striking. The most commonly cited passages are taken from his posthumous opus, A System of Moral ..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2010.0017
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