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Utilitarianism, Liberty & Representative Government Paperback – November 5, 2007

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Utilitarianism, Liberty & Representative Government + Rousseau: The Basic Political Writings: Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Discourse on Political Economy, ... Contract, The State of War (Hackett Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Press (November 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143449599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434495990
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #611,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
These three books are often published together in this way and it is very useful to read them in turn because the key principles introduced in "Utilitarianism" underpin the other two books.

UTILITARIANISM
Bentham had argued that "good" and "evil" were not useful concepts and what mattered was "the greatest happiness of the greatest number". This was to be determined by a "felicific calculus", wherein no one pleasure was to be thought superior to another except by duration, intensity, number of people affected etc. In "Utilitarianism" Mill disagrees with Bentham and argues that quality is more important than quantity. "It is quite compatible with the principle of utility to recognize the fact, that some kinds of pleasure are more desirable and more valuable than others." Who was to determine this? Those with "higher faculties" - which is the elitism Mill carries forward to the other books. Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if some pleasures are superior to others, thought Mill, then it was proper to encourage all people to strive to achieve the ability to enjoy them. We thus have Mill's revised utilitarianism that stresses we must strive for the advancement of mankind.

ON LIBERTY
Mill was a libertarian who chose not to base his defence of liberty on natural rights but on his revised utilitarianism
"I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions...grounded on the permanent interests of man as a progressive being."
Mill argues that freedom is required for man to be able to explore all the avenues of human development that allow the human race to progress. Total freedom is impossible so what determines the legitimate boundaries of freedom? Mill distinguishes between self-regarding and other-regarding actions.
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Utilitarianism, Liberty & Representative Government
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