J. S. Mill's Proof of the Principle of Utility: D. D. Raphael

Utilitas 6 (1):55-63 (1994)

Abstract
In the introductory chapter of his essay on Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill says his aim is to contribute towards the understanding of utilitarianism and towards ‘such proof as it is susceptible of’. He immediately adds that ‘this cannot be proof in the ordinary and popular meaning of the term’ because ‘ultimate ends are not amenable to direct proof’. A proof that something is good has to show that it is ‘a means to something admitted to be good without proof’. But, he goes on, this does not imply that a formula of ultimate ends can only be accepted on ‘blind impulse, or arbitrary choice’. It can be rationally discussed and subjected to proof in a wider sense of that word. ‘Considerations may be presented capable of determining the intellect either to give or withhold its assent to the doctrine; and this is equivalent to proof.’
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820800001321
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Justice and Liberty.William N. Nelson & D. D. Raphael - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):252.

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