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The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 337–350 | Cite as

Mill and the Footnote on Davies

  • Christoph Schmidt-Petri
Article

Introduction

According to John Stuart Mill’s version of utilitarianism, “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.”1 The second chapter of his Utilitarianism is devoted to rebutting various criticisms of this utilitarian theory. One of them is a variant of what today is called the ‘Demandingness Objection’. This objection, discussed in paragraph 19, is stated by Mill as follows: “They say it is exacting too much to require that people shall always act from the inducement of promoting the general interests of society…”2

Mill denies that this is a valid criticism of the utilitarian theory. He replies that utilitarianism does not in fact demand that people shall always act from the inducement of promoting the general interests of society, as the objectors claim. It only requires that they actually do promote the general interests of society. However, what motive induced the agent to perform an action is not...

Keywords

Complex Action Intended Effect Moral Evaluation Rescue Action Moral Estimation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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