Given Mill's ambivalence between direct and indirect utilitarianism,it is natural to inquire whether one view is more plausible than theother. Some of Mill's claims in Chapter V suggest a possible advantagethat sanction utilitarianism might have. In articulating sanctionutilitarianism, Mill claims that it allows him to distinguish duty andexpediency and claim that not all inexpedient acts are wrong;inexpedient acts are only wrong when it is good or optimal to sanctionthem. This suggests that sanction utilitarianism may be preferable toact utilitarianism, because it has a more plausible account of therelation among different deontic categories.
Such methods must, of course, be applied cautiously—theexistence of background conditions makes it difficult to say withcertainty that any individual phenomenon is in fact the causallyactive agent—and results will always be provisional, and open tofurther correction (Ducheyne 2008). But by carefully varyingconditions, Mill holds, we can isolate causes and reveal the lawswhich govern natural phenomena. We learn first to explain individualevents by showing that they are instances of known causal laws, andthen “in a similar manner, a law or uniformity in nature is saidto be explained, when another law or laws are pointed out, of whichthat law itself is but a case” (System, VII: 464). Bycontinued application of the Canons of Induction, the most generalLaws of Nature can be ascertained—this is the ultimate goal ofscience. Mill adopts a Humean account of such laws as regularities:“The expression, Laws of Nature, means nothing but theuniformities which exist among natural phenomena”(System, VII: 318). Nevertheless, he thinks that sciencereveals the deep structure of the world—how things genuinelyare.
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill Volume XXI Essays on Home
These are all serious worries about Mill's proof, as traditionallyconceived. These objections seem so serious and so obvious that theyshould make us wonder if there is a more plausible interpretation ofhis proof.
Even though, they have different perspectives on liberty....
“the practical question where to place the limit--how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control--is a subject on which nearly everything remains to be done” (Mill, 5)....
Mill made a distinction between happiness and sheer sensual pleasure.
To Mill, this phrase may be defined as the liberty of the individual to be the final judge over his actions; to decide what is right and wrong and to act upon that standard.
Liberalism consists importantly in discussion of such texts as .
personal preference, as opposed to reason, as the underlying force behind most of society’s laws.
Most people in positions of power or authority, according to Mill, have done nothing to alter this condition.
Two well-known figures are Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.
In Principles Chapter IV Bentham sets out his conception ofpleasure and utility in more detail, distinguishing between intrinsicand relational dimensions of pleasures. For our purposes, somedimensions matter more than others. Hedonism says that pleasure is theone and only intrinsic good and that pain is the one and only intrinsicevil. All other things have only extrinsic or instrumental valuedepending on whether and, if so, how much pleasure or pain theyproduce. Because the utilitarian asks us to maximize value, he has tobe able to make sense of quantities or magnitudes of value associatedwith different options, where he assigns value to pleasure and disvalueto pain. Intensity, duration, and extent would appear to be the mostrelevant variables here. Each option is associated with variouspleasures and pains both within a single life and across lives. For anygiven option we must find out how many pleasures and pains it produces,whether those occur in a single life or in different lives. For everydistinct pleasure and pain, we must calculate its intensity and itsduration. That would give us the total amount of (net) pleasure (orpain) associated with each option. Then we must do that option withgreatest total. If there are two (or more) options with the greatesttotal, we are free to select any of these.