Grote on Utilitarianism II

Henry Sidgwick

in Essays on Ethics and Method

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598432 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 Grote on Utilitarianism II

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As in the preceding chapter, Sidgwick attempts to highlight some difficulties in the views of his Cambridge teacher John Grote. Although Grote has a keen insight, says Sidgwick, into the human element of a philosophy, he is a poor analyst of systems and methods at the abstract level. The value in Grote's work lies in his detailed presentation of two important critiques of Mill. First, he argues convincingly that Mill's qualitative distinction between pleasures either is reducible to a quantitative distinction or causes pure utilitarianism to be abandoned. Second, he points to the peculiarity in Mill's proof of utilitarianism, which takes a Positivist line in arguing that since people pursue happiness, they ought to pursue the happiness of others.

Keywords: happiness; John Grote; method; Mill; pleasure; positivism; Sidgwick; utilitarianism

Chapter.  2302 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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