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Valar Qringaomis

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mill and Utilitarianism

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Utilitarianism:

"Mill was really raised as a utilitarian baby, to be the perfect utilitarian sage.

And he had a breakdown precisely along the fault lines that Brad was describing earlier, because he was raised to pursue the happiness of everyone, but what did that mean for his own happiness?

And in healing from that breakdown as you say, reading the Romantics and Idealists, he, what he came to realise was missing in Bentham was a distinction between what he came to call the higher and lower pleasures, and the idea was that push-pin is not as good as poetry, which is something that he, Bentham had said...

What Mill said was, well, no. Because we have to think of Utility in terms of our capacity to develop as Human Beings. That we can have these Higher Pleasures of Art and Science and Beauty and Friendship and so on.

And so the Higher Pleasures can only be judged by the person who's actually experienced them... "The permanent interests of man as a progressive being". it was really drawing on these Romantic and Idealist thinkers that gave him the grounds for 'Higher'."
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