Mill, Utilitarianism III. Of the ultimate sanction of the principle of utility
Sanctions for morality (27)
¨ The basic question: Why should people feel obliged to make their conduct conform to the principle of utility?
¨ a question for any system of morals proposing a standard different than the one people already feel an obligation to conform to
¨ NB: Sanction = anything (positive or negative) that gives one a motive to obey a moral standard
¨ NB: Answer is not a claim about actual sanctions but about possible sanctions in future
External sanctions (28)
¨ fellow humans: their favour or displeasure, our sympathy and affection for them
¨ God: His favour or displeasure, our love and awe
¨ NB: easily attached to goal of promoting happiness:
¨ Humans wish for their own happiness.
¨ God can be supposed to desire His creatures’ happiness.
Internal sanction (28-31)
¨ Conscience = feeling of pain from awareness of having violated our duty. (NB)
¨ subjective (transcendent source irrelevant to its psychological impact)
¨ Even if innate, its objects need specification.
¨ Intuitive moralists: consideration of the interests of others is one such object.
¨ In fact, it is acquired.
¨ NB: a source of motivation, not of knowledge
¨ NB: may be less powerful than external sanctions
Cultivation of feeling of duty
¨ uses human capacities
¨ can be steered in any direction
¨ artificial implanted associations tend to fade
¨ utilitarianism based on powerful natural sentiment, the social feelings of humanity
¨ society requires consulting interests of others
¨ interest and sympathy give each person an interest in the well-being of everyone else
¨ social feeling à wish for harmony between one’s own interests and everyone else’s (the ultimate sanction)
How does Mill’s basis for the “sanction” of morality compare to Kant’s?