Utilitarianism and on Liberty: Including Mill’s ‘Essay on Bentham’ and Selections from the Writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Austin

ISBN: 0631233520
ISBN 13: 9780631233527
By: Mary Warnock

Check Price Now


Currently Reading Economics Economics History My Books On Hold Philosophy Philosophy Theory Political Theory Politics To Re Read

About this book

Including three of his most famous and important essays, "Utilitarianism," "On Liberty," and "Essay on Bentham," along with formative selections from Jeremy Bentham and John Austin, this volume provides a uniquely perspicuous view of Mill's ethical and political thought. Contains Mill's most famous and influential works, "Utilitarianism" and "On Liberty" as well as his important "Essay on Bentham." Uses the 1871 edition of "Utilitarianism," the last to be published in Mill's lifetime. Includes selections from Bentham and John Austin, the two thinkers who most influenced Mill. Introduction written by Mary Warnock, a highly respected figure in 20th-century ethics in her own right. Provides an extensive, up-to-date bibliography with the best scholarship on Mill, Bentham and Utilitarianism.

Reader's Thoughts



Liza Moss

Utilitarianism, On liberty, Essay on Bentham. Together with selected writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Austin by John Stuart Mill (1962)


I loved Mill's writings in this book. I found his discourse on individual liberty profound and inspiring. His discussion of utilitarianism is profound, and I enjoyed the roles played by Mill's explanation of virtue, utility, justice, expediency, and happiness.Various peers and mentors voiced disapproval for Mill's Greatest Happiness Principle, but after studying Mill's own words on the matter, it is my opinion that the criticisms I heard were misguided by a misunderstanding of the principle.Mill says, "...the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure."The tendency is to assume Mill means that licentiousness or pleasure seeking is acceptable, or even desirable, if the majority agrees. However, Mill points out that: "Human beings have faculties more elevated than the animal appetites, and when once made conscious of them, do not regard anything as happiness which does not include their gratification." A man has divine purpose, and God grants unto men faculties superior to those given to all other animal so that man might achieve his purpose. To seek animal pleasures and chain oneself to lust, man rejects his higher faculties and neglects his purpose. This behavior cannot result in happiness.Mill explicitly states time and time again that happiness cannot exist without virtue, sound principles, and individual liberty.It is my intention to discuss further Mill's explanation of these various terms. This, I hope, will solidify my understanding of his philosophy as well as clarify some of the misunderstandings about Utilitarianism.In the meantime, I invite you to perform an internet search for Mill's essays and read them for yourself - they contribute much to the discussion of individual rights and the proper role of government.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *