Mill's Utilitarianism

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  • Mill's Proof of Utilitarianism
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    • Premise 2 - general happiness is good to the total (aggregate) of all persons
      • criticism - fallacy of composition
        • something which applies to each part doesn't apply to the whole
        • Russell's sailor example
          • "every girl loves sailor"
          • doesn't want everyone else to be happy because want their own happiness with their sailor
          • fallacy - we can't decide each other's happiness
    • premise 1 - our happiness is desirable because we desire it
      • criticism 1 - equivocation (Moore)
        • two meanings of 'desire'
          • 1. desirable - we desire what we want
          • 2. desirable - what is seen as desirable
          • not everyone's desires are desirable e.g. murdering someone
      • criticism 2 - ought is gap
        • you cannot derive an 'ought' from an 'is'
          • fallacy because moving from 'matters of fact' (is) to 'matters of value' (ought)
        • Mill's error - humans are guided by happiness therefore we ought to make moral decisions based on happiness
      • criticism 3 - naturalistic fallacy (Moore)
        • cannot define good
          • good is a simple property - cannot be reduced down to 'pleasure' or 'happiness'
      • counter - Mary Warnock
        • Mill not attempting to define 'good' or 'desirable'
          • Mill uses his evidence because he is an empiricist
    • Premise 3 - happiness is the ultimate goal by which we should make our moral decisions


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