An Examination of the Utilitarian Philosophy

An Examination of the Utilitarian Philosophy

An Examination of the Utilitarian Philosophy

An Examination of the Utilitarian Philosophy

Excerpt

The purpose of the following pages is to show that, though virtue or right action is the great source of human happiness, still the fact that it is so does not of itself constitute it virtue, or explain what we mean when we use that term. The doctrine here controverted may, roughly speaking, be called Utilitarianism. Against this doctrine, or in qualification of it, I have endeavoured to show what in my view is the manner in which we ought to regard the fact that virtue or right action is promotive of human happiness, and what other considerations or elements of moral value ought to be taken account of in conjunction with it.

By the side of this discussion I have placed another, with the view of showing that though man, if we look at his past history, has proceeded along a course which has been one of real improvement, still it is not from the fact that such and no other has been his course, that we are able to judge that it is improvement, but we must further be able to give reasons why we call it improvement rather than the opposite. That is to say, we must have the idea of improvement: an idea of what ought to be, or . . .

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