Article

J. S. Mill’s Conception of Utility

Citation

Saunders B (2010) J. S. Mill’s Conception of Utility. Utilitas, 22 (1), pp. 52-69. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=UTI; https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820809990380

Abstract
Mill’s most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other – as in the case of quality and quantity of wine. I argue that Mill is not committed to thinking that there are two distinct kinds of pleasure, or that ‘higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I show how this interpretation not only makes sense of Mill but allows him to respond to famous problems, such as Crisp’s Haydn and the oyster and Nozick’s experience machine.

Keywords
J. S. Mill; Hedonism; Mill, John Stuart, 1806-1873 Utilitarianism; Utilitarianism; Hedonism

Journal
Utilitas: Volume 22, Issue 1

StatusPublished
Publication date31/03/2010
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/2662
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publisher URLhttp://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=UTI
ISSN0953-8208