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John Stuart Mill: "Pleasure" in the Laws of Psychology and the Principle of Morals


Kuenzle, Dominique (2018). John Stuart Mill: "Pleasure" in the Laws of Psychology and the Principle of Morals. In: Shapiro, Lisa. Pleasure: a history. New York: Oxford University Press, 201-231.

Abstract

Philosophical thinking about pleasure today, especially in the context of normative ethics, is deeply influenced by the concept’s function within Bentham’s and Mill’s Utilitarianism, according to which the moral quality of any action depends on its tendency to “maximize pleasure” and “minimize pain”. According to Mill’s own philosophy of science and language, the content and function of “pleasure” is determined by its role in scientific induction, specifically within the associationist psychological theory Mill shares with his father, James Mill. Pleasures, it turns out, are a quality of sensations with inductive links to other mental states, the power to explain actions, and the potential for being physiologically explained. The semantic content of “pleasure” as a general name, and thus the content of the moral precepts set up by Mill’s Principle of Utility, must be thought of as responsive to inductive progress in associationist psychology, ethology and the neurosciences.

Abstract

Philosophical thinking about pleasure today, especially in the context of normative ethics, is deeply influenced by the concept’s function within Bentham’s and Mill’s Utilitarianism, according to which the moral quality of any action depends on its tendency to “maximize pleasure” and “minimize pain”. According to Mill’s own philosophy of science and language, the content and function of “pleasure” is determined by its role in scientific induction, specifically within the associationist psychological theory Mill shares with his father, James Mill. Pleasures, it turns out, are a quality of sensations with inductive links to other mental states, the power to explain actions, and the potential for being physiologically explained. The semantic content of “pleasure” as a general name, and thus the content of the moral precepts set up by Mill’s Principle of Utility, must be thought of as responsive to inductive progress in associationist psychology, ethology and the neurosciences.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:John Stuart Mill, pleasure, epistemology, ethics, utilitarianism, psychology, associationism, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophical semantics
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:19 Aug 2018 13:54
Last Modified:29 Oct 2019 08:20
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISBN:978-0-19-022511-7
OA Status:Closed
Related URLs:https://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=ebi01_prod011151353&context=L&vid=ZAD&search_scope=default_scope&tab=default_tab&lang=de_DE (Library Catalogue)
http://www.oup.com (Publisher)

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