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John Stuart Mill

Utilitarianism

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    test of right and wrong must be the means, one would think, of ascertaining what is right or wrong, and not a consequence of having already ascertained it.
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    the greatest happiness principle, has had a large share in forming the moral doctrines even of those who most scornfully reject its authority.
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    most material and even predominant consideration in many of the details of morals,
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    Neither pains nor pleasures are homogeneous, and pain is always heterogeneous with pleasure. What is there to decide whether a particular pleasure is worth purchasing at the cost of a particular pain, except the feelings and judgment of the experienced?
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    which he can look for, as the world is constituted, is imperfect. But he can learn to bear its imperfections, if they are at all bearable; and they will not make him envy the being who is indeed unconscious of the imperfections, but only because he feels not at all the good which those imperfections qualify. It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.
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    It is indisputable that the being whose capacities of enjoyment are low, has the greatest chance of having them fully satisfied; and a highly-endowed being will always feel that any happiness
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    since few but those whose mind is a moral blank, could bear to lay out their course of life on the plan of paying no regard to others except so far as their own private interest compels.
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    worth is solely that of the things which it will buy; the desires for other things than itself, which it is a means of gratifying.
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    This conviction is the ultimate sanction of the greatest-happiness morality. This it is which makes any mind, of well-developed feelings, work with, and not against, the outward motives to care for others
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    This feeling in most individuals is much inferior in strength to their selfish feelings, and is often wanting altogether. But to those who have it, it possesses all the characters of a natural feeling. It does not present itself to their minds as a superstition of education, or a law despotically imposed by the power of society, but as an attribute which it would not be well for them to be without.
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    The deeply-rooted conception which every individual even now has of himself as a social being, tends to make him feel it one of his natural wants that there should be harmony between his feelings and aims and those of his fellow creatures.
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    The utilitarian doctrine is, that happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things being only desirable as means to that end.
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    reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable, desires his own happiness.
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    It maintains not only that virtue is to be desired, but that it is to be desired disinterestedly, for itself.
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    The answer to the objection is, that there has been ample time, namely, the whole past duration of the human species. During all that time mankind have been learning by experience the tendencies of actions;
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    Though the application of the standard may be difficult, it is better than none at all:
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    If utility is the ultimate source of moral obligations, utility may be invoked to decide between them when their demands are incompatible.
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    The rightness or wrongness of saving a man from drowning does depend very much"—not upon the motive, but—"upon the intention" no utilitarian would have differed from him.
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    There exists no moral system under which there do not arise unequivocal cases of conflicting obligation.
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    In an improving state of the human mind, the influences are constantly on the increase, which tend to generate in each individual a feeling of unity with all the rest; which feeling, if perfect, would make him never think of, or desire, any beneficial condition for himself, in the benefits of which they are not included.
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