Contrasting Mill and Sidgwick. A Development Analysis of the Value Theory of Classical Utilitarianism

Annette Dufner
Universität Bonn
This paper points out a number of long-standing objections to Mill’s theory of the good and shows how exactly Sidgwick’s more detailed approach can avoid these pitfalls. In particular, critics have always insisted that (i) Mill’s "proof" of utilitarianism represents a naturalistic fallacy, and that (ii) his qualitative hedonism is inconsistent. Sidgwick’s "ideal element" of the good allows him to avoid these charges, and sheds new light on the assumption that the 'hedonism' of classical utilitarianism is a purely naturalistic concept. Instead, it has to be understood as a label for the modern, liberal notion of the individual good as opposed to the universal or utilitarian good.
Keywords Sidgwick  Mill  utilitarianism  value theory  hedonism
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