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?

¨  Kant  

¨  Mill