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No Philosophy for Swine: John Stuart Mill on the Quality of Pleasures

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    I argue that Mill introduced the distinction between quality and quantity of pleasures in order to fend off the then common charge that utilitarianism is ‘a philosophy for swine’ and to accommodate the (still) widespread intuition that the life of a human is better , in the sense of being intrinsically more valuable, than the life of an animal. I argue that in this he fails because in order to do successfully he would have to show not only that the life of a human is preferable to that of an animal on hedonistic grounds, but also that it is in some sense nobler or more dignified to be a human, which he cannot do without tacitly presupposing non-hedonistic standards of what it means to lead a good life.

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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Utilitas.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 04 (December)
    Pages: 428-446

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:23:y:2011:i:04:p:428-446_00
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