John Stuart Mill was the leading British philosopher of the nineteenth century and his famous essay Utilitarianism is the most influential statement of the philosophy of utilitarianism: that actions, laws, policies and institutions are to be evaluated by their utility or contribution to good or bad consequences. Henry West has written the most up-to-date and user-friendly introduction to utilitarianism available. The book serves as both a commentary to and interpretation of the text. It also defends Mill against his critics. An appendix reviews in detail the structure and arguments of Utilitarianism. This book is primarily intended as a textbook for students in philosophy assigned to read Utilitarianism but it should also prove helpful to students and professionals in other fields such as political science, history and economics.
Introduction; 1. Mill's life and philosophical background; 2. Mill's criticism of alternative theories; 3. Qualities of pleasure; 4. Was Mill an act- or rule-utilitarian?; 5. Sanctions and moral motivation; 6. Mill's 'proof' of the principle of utility; 7. Utility and justice; Appendix. An overall view of Mill's Utilitarianism.