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WEST STRAND. REPRINTED FBOM 'FBASEB'S MAGAZINE.] . qf Translation. [Tke Author reserves the right : PARKER.UTILITARIANISM BY JOHN STUART MILL.' LONDON 1863. SON. AND BOURN.
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38 CHAPTER SUSCEPTIBLE IV. PAGE 1 CHAPTER WHAT UTILITARIANISM IS II.. OF THE ULTIMATE SANCTION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY.. 8 CHAPTER III. 61 . IS OF WHAT SORT OF PROOF THE PRINCIPLE OF UTILITY 51 CHAPTER V. CHAPTER GENERAL REMARKS I. ON THE CONNEXION BETWEEN JUSTICE AND UTILITY .CONTENTS.
question concerning the summum bonum. the right and wrong. CHAPTER I. or. philosophers are still ranged under the same contending banners. more significant of the backward state in which speculation on the make up the than the little most important subjects still lingers. than when the youth Socrates listened to the old Protagoras. and divided them into sects and schools. concerning the foundation of morality. . and asserted (if Plato's dialogue be grounded on a real conversation) the theory of utilita- rianism against the popular morality of the so-called sophist. what is the same thing. rpHERE are few circumstances among those which present condition of human knowmore unlike what might have been expected. has occupied the most gifted intellects. carrying on a And after vigorous warfare against one another. progress which has been made in the decision of the controversy respecting the criterion of From the dawn of philosophy. GENERAL REMARKS. more than two thousand years the same discussions continue. and neither thinkers nor mankind at large seem nearer to being unanimous on the subject.UTILITARIANISM. or ledge. has been accounted the main problem in speculative thought.
An maly. than algebra which derives none of its certainty from what are commonly . or whose conclusions were more insufficiently made out. and precise conception of what we are pursuing would . and in some cases similar discordance. and of mysteries as The truths which are ultimately accepted of its mentary notions with which the science is conversant and their relation to the science is not that of foundations to an edifice. the contrary might be expected to be the case with a practical art. as the first principles of a science. mathematics without much deed without impairing at impairing. a clear subservient. as laid down by some full of fictions as theology. what are called its first Were it not so. the explanation of which is. which may . dug down science to and exposed to particular But though in the general theory. practised on the ele- most eminent teachers. exist respecting the that first principles of all the sciences. such as morals or legislation. the trustworthiness of the conclusions of those sciences. and rules of action.2 It is UTILITARIANISM. not excepting which is deemed the most certain of them. are as English law. are really the last results of metaphysical analysis. seems natural to suppose. true that similar confusion and uncertainty. . since these. must take their whole character and colour from the end to which they are When we engage in a pursuit. there would be principles. no science more precarious. nor depend for their evidence upon. apparent anothat the detailed taught to learners as its elements. but of roots to a tree. doctrines of a science are not usually deduced from. perform their office equally well though they be never light. generally inall. All precede action is for the sake of it the truths some end.
supplies us only with the general principles of moral judgments it is a branch of our reason. one would think. sides that the existence of such a moral instinct is itself one of the matters in dispute those believers in pretensions to philosophy. have been obliged to abandon the idea that it discerns what is right or wrong in the particular case in hand.GENERAL REMARKS.the a priori. right and wrong. and must be looked to for the abstract doctrines of morality. insists on the necessity of general laws. . what The difficulty is not avoided by having recourse to the popular theory of a natural faculty. to a great extent. but differ as to their evidence. but of the application of a law to an individual case. instead of the last we of right and wrong must be the means. of ascertaining is are to look forward to. not for perception of it in the concrete. as our it who have any other senses discern the sight or sound actually present. According to the other as well as truth and falsedoctrine. requiring principles of morals are evident nothing to command assent. They both agree that the morality of an individual action is not a may question of direct perception. according to all those of its interpreters who are entitled to the name of thinkers. the same moral laws . and not a consequence of having already ascertained it. Our moral faculty. faculty. The intuitive. except that the meaning of the terms be understood. B2 . not of our . informing us of right and wrong. A test right or wrong. 3 seem to be the first tiling we need. school of ethics. and the source from which they derive their authority. no less than what sensitive be termed the inductive. According to the one opinion. a sense or For beinstinct. They recognise also.
that there morals. either assume the ordinary precepts of morals as of a priori authority. It have attained. Although the non-existence of an acknowledged first principle has made ethics not so much a guide as a consecration of . To inquire how far the bad effects of this deficiency have been mitigated in practice. and which has never succeeded in gaining Yet to support their pretensions popular acceptance. are questions of observation and experience. or if there mon groundwork be several. or to what extent the rule for deciding moral beliefs of mankind have been vitiated or made uncertain by the absence of any distinct recognition of an ultimate standard. or they lay down as the com- some generality much less obviously authoritative than the maxims themselves. or common ground of obligation. ought to be self-evident. hood. cedence there should be a determinate order of preamong them and the one principle. Yet they seldom attempt to a science of a list make out of the a priori principles which are to serve as the still more rarely do they premises of the science make any effort to reduce those various principles to . and the intuitive school is affirm as strongly as the inductive. has been mainly due to the tacit in- fluence of a standard not recognised. be easy to show that whatever steadiness or consistency these moral beliefs trine. But both hold equally that mprality must be deduced from principles . between the various principles when they conflict. at the root of all morality.UTILITARIANISM. ciple or law. there ought either to be some one fundamental prinof those maxims. however. or the . would imply a complete survey and criticism of past and present ethical doc- would. one first They principle.
and the source of moral obligation. whose system of thought will long remain one of the landmarks in the history of philosophical speculation. both of favour and of aversion.GENERAL REMARKS. in the treatise in question. still. the principle of utility. but I cannot help referring. by Kant. is this ' : So act. in the adoption logical (not to say physical) imposby all rational beings of the All most outrageously immoral rules of conduct. the greatest happiness principle. as men's sentiments. to a systematic treatise by one of the most illustrious of them. I might lists go much further.' precept any of the actual duties of morality. almost grotesquely. to show that there would be any contradiction. the Metaphysics of Ethics. are greatly influenced by what they suppose to be the effects of things upon their happiness. that the rule on which thou actest would admit of being adopted as a law by all rational But when he begins to deduce from this beings. has had a large share in forming the moral doctrines even of those who most scornfully reject its authority. and say that to all those a priori morawho deem it necessary to argue at all. This remarkable man. utilitarian arguments are indispensable. lay down an universal first prinit ciple as the origin and ground of moral obligation . does. Nor is there any school of thought which refuses to admit that the influence of actions on happiness is a most material and even predominant consideration in many of the details of morals. however unwilling to acknowledge it as the fundamental principle of morality. or as Bentham latterly called it. 5 men's actual sentiments. he shows is that the consequences of their universal . It is not my present purpose to criticize these thinkers . he fails. any sibility. for illustration.
good? The art of music is good. formula. the rational faculty . a comprehensive then. . for the reason. may be accepted or but is understood by proof. There is a larger meaning of the proof. and neither does that faculty deal with it solely in the way of intuition. must be so by being shown to be a means to something admitted to be good without proof. or arbitrary choice. I shall. is not so as an it is asserted that there is end.6 UTILITARIANISM. adoption would be such as no one would choose to incur. the present occasion. Questions of ultimate ends are not amenable to direct proof. in which this question is as amenable to it as any other of the disputed questions of word The subject is within the cognizance of philosophy. to infer We acceptance or rejection must depend on blind impulse. and towards such proof as it is susceptible of. Considebe presented capable of determining the intellect either to give or withhold its assent to the rations may . that its not a subject of what is commonly are not. attempt to contribute On something towards the understanding and appreciation of the Utilitarian or Happiness theory. that it produces pleasure proof is it possible to give that pleasure is among but what ? good If. "Whatever can be proved to be good. . doctrine and this is equivalent to proof. by its conducing to health but how is it possible to prove that health is . including all things which are in themselves good. the formula rejected. The medical art is proved to be good. however. others. It is evident that this cannot be proof in the ordinary and popular meaning of the term. without further discussion of the other theories. but as a mean. and that whatever else is good.
mistaken of such of the Having thus preinterpretations of its meaning. and a large cleared. I shall afterwards endeavour to throw such light as I can upon the question. fore. with the view of showing more clearly what it is. it is therefore. I believe that the very imperfect notion ordi- narily formed of its meaning. and disposing practical objections to it as either originate in. shall examine presently of what nature are these .GENERAL REMARKS. can be given for accepting or rejecting the utilitarian formula. considered as one of philosophical theory. considerations in what manner they apply to the and what rational grounds. that the formula should be correctly understood. and that could it be even from only the grosser misconceptions. . pared the ground. the question would be greatly simplified. But a preliminary condition of rational acceptance or rejection. Before. is the chief obstacle which impedes its reception. I shall offer some illustrations of the doctrine itself. thereproportion of its difficulties removed. I attempt to enter into the philosophical grounds which can be given for assenting to the utilitarian standard. distinguishing it from what it is not. or are closely connected with. 7 We case.
CHAPTER II. WHAT UTILITARIANISM IS. not some- thing to be contradistinguished from pleasure. for even the A PASSING- An of momentary appearance of them with any one capable of so absurd confounding a misconception which is the more extraorjdinary. meant by it. as has been pointedly remarked an able writer. together with exemption from pain . from Epicurus to Bentham. but pleasure itself. denounce the theory as impracticably dry when the word utility precedes the word pleasure. and as too practicably voluptuous when the word pleasure precedes the word utility/ Those who know anything about the matter are aware that every writer. is another of the common charges against as utilitarianism by and. the same sort of persons. remark is all that needs be given to the ignorant blunder of supposing that those who stand up for utility as the test of right and wrong. apology is due to the philosophical opponents utilitarianism. and instead of opposing the useful to the agreeable or the ornamental. . use the term in that restricted and merely colloquial sense in which utility is opposed to pleasure. of referring everything to pleasure. who maintained the theory of utility.8 UTILITARIANISM. and often : ' the very same persons. have always declared that the useful . and that too in its grossest form. inasmuch the contrary accusation.
or the Greatest Happiness Principle. while knowing nothing whatever about it but its sound. a convenient . holds from The that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness. beauty. wrong as they tend to produce the this essay has reason for believing himself to be the person who brought the word utilitarian into use. After using it as a designation for several years. are perpetually falling into this shallow mistake. many years may well feel themselves called upon to resume it. of pleasure in some of its forms of . Having caught up the word utilitarian. And this perverted use is is the only one in which the word one from which the popularly known. including the herd of writers. many cases. but who had for Those who introdis- continued it as a distinctive appellation. Yet the common herd. he and others abandoned it from a growing dislike to anything resemfirst * The author of bling a badge or watchword of sectarian distinction. in of avoiding tiresome circumlocution. Nor is the term thus ignorantly misapplied solely in disparagement. But as a name to denote the recognition for one single opinion. but in books of weight and these. of ornament. not a set of opinions of utility as a standard. or the neglect. if by doing so they can hope to contribute anything towards rescuing it this utter degradation. not any particular way of applying it the term mode supplies a want in the language.ITS MEANING. He did not invent it. and offers. and the generation are acquiring new their sole notion of its meaning. of the moment. or of amusement. they habitually express by it the rejection. Utility. but adopted it from a passing expression in Mr.* creed which accepts as the foundation of morals. duced the word. Gait's Annals of the Parish. means among pretension. but occasionally in compliment as though it implied superiority to frivolity and the mere pleasures . not only in newspapers and periodicals. 9 other things.
and freedom from pain. such a theory of life excites in many minds. to whom the followers of Epicurus were. at a very early period. the charge could not be When . since the accusation supposes human beings to be capable of no pleasures except those of which swine are capable. the Epicureans have always answered. and the privation of pleasure. and the absence of pain by unhappiness. inveterate dislike. and modern holders of the . contemptuously likened. pain. is intended plea- sure.10 UTILITARIANISM. or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain. what extent of life this is left an open question. French. but their accusers. doctrine are occasionally polite comparisons assailants. and among them in some of the most estimable in To suppose feeling and purpose. and English thus attacked. made the subject of equally by its German. To give a clear view of the moral standard set up by the theory. who represent human nature in a degrading light. If this supposition were true. what things it includes in the ideas of pain and pleasure and to . . reverse of happiness. that pleasure. Now. that it is not they. By happiness . on which this theory of morality is things (which are as numerous in the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves. much more requires to be said in particular. affect But these the theory supplementary explanations do not grounded namely. are the only things desirable as ends and that all desirable . that life has (as they express it) no higher end than pleasure no better and nobler object of desire and pursuit they designate as utterly mean and grovelling as a doctrine worthy only of swine.
of the former in their circumstantial advantages rather than And on all these points in their intrinsic nature. do not regard anything beast's pleasures do not satisfy a as happiness which does not include their gratification. compatible with the principle of the fact. however. but they be called. with entire consistency. of the feelings and imagination. as well as Christian elements require to be included. that utilitarian writers in general have placed the superiority of mental over bodily pleasures chiefly in the greater permanency. that is. It must be admitted.ITS MEANING. but . many Stoic. this in To do any sufficient manner. as it may It higher ground. uncostliness. I do not. might have taken the other.. all and more valuable than It would be absurd is that while. a much higher value as pleasures than to those of mere sensation. and of the moral sentiments. utilitarians have fully proved their case . consider the Epicureans to have been by any means faultless in drawing out their scheme of consequences from the utilitarian principle. for if the sources of pleasure the other. safety. and. and when once made conscious of them. in estimating other things. the rule of life which is good enough for the one would be good enough for gainsaid. But there is no known of life which does not Epicurean theory assign to the pleasures of the intellect. The comparison is felt of the Epicurean life to that of beasts as degrading. Human beings have faculties ceptions more elevated than the animal appetites. 11 would then be no longer an imputation were precisely the same to human beings and to swine. quality . indeed. precisely because a human being's conof happiness. &c. is that some quite to recognise utility kinds of pleasure are more desirable others.
there is but one possible answer. an unquestionable fact that those who are equally acquainted with. no instructed person would be an ignoramus. or the rascal is better with his lot than they are with theirs. If I am asked. the dunce. in pleasures. for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasures . do give a most it is Now marked preference to the manner of existence which employs their higher faculties. Tew human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals. merely as a pleasure. so far outweighing quantity as to render it. Of two pleasures. no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool. irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation If to prefer it. placed so far above the other acquainted that they prefer it.12 considered as UTILITARIANISM. of small account. well as quantity. in comparison. and equally capable of appreciating and enjoying. one of the two by those who are tended with a greater amount of discontent. all who have competently with both. the estimation of pleasures should be supposed to depend on quantity alone. no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base. They . that is the more desirable pleasure. even though knowing it to be atis. except its being greater in amount. we are justified in ascribing to the preferred enjoyment a superiority in quality. what I mean by difference of quality or what makes one pleasure more valuable than another. both. if there be one to which all or almost experience of both give a decided preference. even though they should be per- suaded that the satisfied fool. and would not resign it for any quantity of the other pleasure which their nature is capable of.
however undesirable in own eyes. a name which is . or to the love of excitement. 13 would not resign what they possess more than he. extreme. of happiness. otherwise than momentarily. and content. We ness may give what explanation we please of this unwillingwe may attribute it to pride. he can never really wish to sink into what he feels to be a lower grade of existence. that nothing which conflicts with could be. which all human beings possess in one form or other.ITS MEANING. and contribute to it : but its which in is so essential a part of the happiness of those it is whom it strong. that to escape from their lot for almost their they would exchange any other. proportion to their higher faculties. A being more to make him happy. and in some. both of which do really enter into and culcation of it . of higher faculties requires is capable probably of more acute suffering. common with it is If they ever fancy only in cases of unhappiness so it him. and certainly accessible to it at more points. than one of an inferior type . though by no means in exact. an appeal to which was with the Stoics one of the most effective means for the into the love of power. is not happier than the inferior the two very different ideas. Whoever supposes takes place at a sacrifice of happiness that preference the superior being. in anything like equal circumconfounds stances. for the most complete satisfaction of all the desires which they have in they would. an that this object of desire to them. given indiscriminately to some of the most and to some of the least estimable feelings of which mankind are capable : we may refer it to the love of liberty and personal independence. but in spite of these liabilities. most appropriate appellation is a sense of dignity. .
they are at bearable who is and they will not make him envy the being indeed unconscious of the imperfections. world is constituted. dissatisfied is the good which those better to be a human than a pig satisfied. than when it is between bodily and mental. or the pig. though they know it to be the less valuable and this no less when the choice is between .14 It is UTILITARIANISM. but . under thd influence But this of temptation. make their election for the is nearer good. many who who undergo . if But he can all learn to bear imperfections. from trinsic superiority of the higher. occasionally. fool. infirmity of character. It may be further objected. indisputable that the being whose capacities of enjoyment are low. though perfectly aware that health is the greater good. voluntarily choose the lower description of pleasures in preference I believe that before they devote to the higher. But I do not believe that those this very common change. It may be objected. are capable of the higher pleasures. better to be being And if the Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. that many who quite compatible with a full appreciation of the inMen often. The other party to the comparison knows both sides. They pursue sensual indulgences to the injury of health. . are of a different opinion. postpone them to the lower. as they advance in years sink into indolence and selfishness. that begin with youthful enthusiasm for everything noble. two bodily pleasures. its is imperfect. it is because they only know their own side of the question. has the greatest chance of having fully satisfied feel them always as the and a highly endowed being will that any happiness which he can look for. only because he feels not at It all imperfections qualify.
It may be questioned whether any one who has remained equally susceptible to both classes of pleasures. the judgment of those who are qualified they differ. . And there needs be the less hesitation to accept or. in all ages.ITS MEANING. that of the majority among them. must be admitted as final. and the society into which it has thrown them. Men lose their tellectual tastes. On a question which is the best worth having of two pleasures. ever knowingly and calmly preferred the lower though many. them they are any longer capable of enjoying. they have already become incapable of the other. but by mere want of sustenance. them. apart from its moral attributes and from its consequences. are not young persons favourable to keeping that higher capacity in exercise. but because they are either the only ones prefer to which they have access. What means are there of . or which of two modes of existence is the most grateful to the feelings. I apprehend there can be no appeal. because high aspirations as they lose their inthey have not time or oppor- tunity for indulging to inferior and they addict themselves not because they deliberately pleasures. have broken down in an ineffectual attempt to combine both. Capacity for the nobler feelings is in most natures a very tender plant. this there judgment respecting the quality of pleasures. or the only ones which . 15 themselves exclusively to the one. From this verdict of the only competent judges. if by knowledge of both. not only by hostile influences. since is no other tribunal to be referred to even on the question of quantity. and in the majority of it speedily dies away if the occupations to which their position in life has devoted them. easily killed.
to those of which the animal nature. for that standard is not the agent's own greatest happiness. even if each individual were only benefited by the nobleness of others. so far as happiness is concerned. therefore. and pain is always heterogeneous with pleasure. as being a necessary part of a perfectly just conception of Utility or Happiness. were a sheer deduction from the benefit. I have dwelt on this point. or the intensest of two pleasurable sensations. and his own. except the feelings and judgment of the experienced? When. last. renders refutation super- . they are entitled on this subject to the same regard. except the general suffrage of those determining which who are familiar with both ? Neither pains nor pleasures are homogeneous. and if it may is noble character ness. there possibly be doubted whether a always the happier for its noble- can be no doubt that it makes other peop and that the world in general is immensely happier. a gainer by Utilitarianism. is suspectible. could only attain its end by the general cultivation of nobleness it. But the bare enunciation of such an absurdity as this fluous. is the acutest of two pains. disjoined from the higher faculties.1 6 UTILITARIANISM. therefore. of character. those feelings and judgment declare the pleasures derived from the higher faculties to be preferable in kind. considered as the directive rule of conduct. but the greatest amount of happiness altoge- ther . human But it is by no means an indispensable condition to the acceptance of the utilitarian standard. apart from the question of intensity. What is there to decide whether a particular pleasure is worth purchasing at the cost of a particular pain.
secured to all and not to them only. is necessarily also the standard of morality. arises another class of objectors. it is unattainable : and they contemptuously ask. to the . which may accordingly be defined. they say. greatest extent possible. the end of human according self-consciousness action. however. is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain. what right hast thou to be happy? a question which Mr. because. 17 According to the Greatest Happiness Principle. by the observance of which an existence such as has been described might be. mankind Against this doctrine. who say that happiness. This. thou even happiness and could not have become noble but by renunciation . a short which lesson. to which must be added their habits of and self-observation. to the whole sentient creation. time ago.ITS MEANING. but. and the rule for measuring it against quantity. both in point of quantity and quality the test of quality. . and as rich as possible in enjoyments. Carlyle clenches by the loithout felt addition. hadst Next. with reference to and for the sake of which all other things are desirable (whether we are considering our own good or that of other people). that men can do that all noble human beings have right. the ultimate end. being. to be What ? . the rules and precepts for human conduct. are best furnished with the means of comparison. so far as the nature of things admits. or this. thoroughly learnt and submitted to. to the utilitarian opinion. in any form. the preference felt by those who in their opportunities of experience. in the first place. as above explained. learning the lesson of Entsagen. cannot be the rational purpose of human life and action . being .
is at an exaggeration. but which they meant was not a life of rapture . so long at least as mankind think fit to live. or in some cases. some: be said for the utilitarian theory thing might since utility includes not solely the pursuit of happiness. The ness is to be it ment of beings. the something like a verbal quibble. however. but the prevention or mitigation of unhappiness and if the former aim be chimerical. they affirm to be the beginning and necessary condition of all virtue. A exalted pleasure lasts only moments. ' moments of such. If by happiness be meant a assertion. there will be all : the greater scope and more imperative need for the latter. if not least continuity of highly pleasurable excitement. of these objections would go to the root of the matter were it well founded for if no happifirst . it is thus positively asserted be impossible that human life should be ttappy. even in that case. to When. and is the occasional brilliant flash of enjoyment. or of any at all had by human rational conduct. and with some intermissions. the attaincannot be the end of morality. with a decided predominance of the active over the passive. in an existence made up of few and transitory pains. it is state of evident enough that this is impossible. not its permanent and steady flame. still Though. and do not take refuge in the simultaneous act of suicide recommended under certain conditions by Novalis. . not to expect more from life than it is capable of bestowing. many and various pleasures. hours or days. and having as the foundation of the whole. Of this the philosophers who have taught that happiness is the end of life were as The happiness fully aware as those who taunt them.IS UTILITARIANISM.
the other. if taught to consider happiness as the end of life. And such an existence is even now the lot of man} during some considerable 7 '.ITS MEANING. It is only whom indolence amounts to a vice. would be satisfied with such a moderate share of real hindrance to its The it. To those who have neither c2 . many can reconcile themselves to a considerable quantity of pain. tion. and excitement. people are tolerably fortunate in their outward lot do not find in life sufficient enjoyment to make it who valuable to them. objectors perhaps may doubt whether human beings. mankind have been The main constituents satis- of a satisfied life itself is appear to be two. that do not desire excitement after an interval of repose it is those in : only those in whom the need of excitement is a disease. the prolongation of either being a preparation for. many find that they can : pleasure be content with very little with much excitement. that feel the tranquillity which follows excitement dull and insipid. The and wretched social present wretched educaarrangements. But with great numbers of fied much less. since the two are so far from being incompatible that they are in natural alliance. the cause generally is. With much tranquillity. either of which by often found sufficient for the purpose : tran- quillity. caring for nobody but themselves. 19 'A life thus composed. and exciting a wish for. has always appeared worthy of the name of happiness. There is no inherent impossibility in enabling even assuredly the mass of mankind to unite both . are the only being attainable by almost all. instead of pleasurable in direct proWhen portion to the excitement which preceded it. portion of their lives. to those who have been fortunate enough to obtain it.
Some- . in any exercise its faculties tolerable degree. to become indifferent to all this. is possible. the achievements of art. the ways of mankind. devoid of every feeling or care but those which centre in his own miserable individuality. the imagiAations of poetry. but only when one has had from the beginning no moral or human interest in these things. As little is there an in- herent necessity that any human being should be a selfish egotist. and especially those have also cultivated a fellow-feeling with the collective interests of mankind. retain as lively an in- terest in life on the eve of death as in the vigour of youth and health. that of a philosopher. and has sought in them only the curiosity. the incidents of history. the excitements of life are much curtailed. and that too without having exhausted a thousandth part of it. indeed. It. and their prospects in the future. past and present. the principal cause which makes life unsatisfactory is want of A cultivated mind I do not mental cultivation. to finds sources of inexhaustible interest in all that surrounds it. Next to selfishness. gratification of Now things there why absolutely no reason in the nature of an amount of mental culture sufficient to is give an intelligent interest in these objects of contemplation. and mean which has been taught. but any mind to which the fountains of knowledge have been opened. and in any case dwindle in value as the time approaches when : all selfish interests must be terminated by death while those who leave after them who objects of personal affection.20 UTILITARIANISM. should not be the inheritance of every one born in a civilized country. in the objects of nature. public nor private affections.
disease. there- fore. 21 thing far superior to this is sufficiently common even now. is denied the liberty to use the sources of happiness within his reach. are possible. he will not fail to find he escape the positive evils the great sources of physical and mental suflife. and will. and proper control of noxious influences . which. may providence of individuals. worthlessness. as things now are. Yet no one whose opinion deserves a moment's consideration can doubt that most of the great positive evils of the world are in themselves removable.ITS MEANING. from it is which a rare good fortune entirely to escape . though in unequal degrees. disease. in the contest with these calamities. cannot be obviated. if human affairs continue to improve. and the unkindfering ness. Genuine private affections. through bad laws. every one who has this moderate amount of moral and intellectual requisites is capable of an and unless existence which may be called enviable such a person. and often cannot be in any material degree mitigated. Even that most intractable of enemies. The main stress of the problem lies. or subjection to the . while the . to give ample earnest of what the human species may be made. and so much also to correct and improve. in any sense implying be completely extinguished by the wisdom of society. to every rightly brought up human In a world in which there is so much to intebeing. if of affection. Poverty. so much to enjoy. combined with the good sense and suffering. may be indefinitely reduced in dimensions by good physical and moral education. will of others. and a sincere interest in the public good. be in the end reduced within narrow limits. or premature loss of objects of this enviable existence. rest. such as indigence.
social institutions. our happiness is wrapt and other disap- pointments connected with worldly circumstances. will draw a noble enjoyment from the contest itself. And every advance in that direction relieves us from some. all it that. And this leads to the true estimation of what is said by the objectors concerning the possibility. which deprive us of those in up. in short. . which he would not for any bribe in the form of selfish indulgence consent to be without. of learning to do without happiness. progress of science holds out a promise for the future of still more direct conquests over this detestable foe. in the endeavour. suffering are in a great degree. hut.22 UTILITARIANISM. whom As for vicissitudes of fortune. entirely. not only of the chances which cut short our own lives. Unquestionably it is possible to do without happiness . of ill-regulated desires. if will and knowledge were might easily be made mind part. of human . even in those parts of our present world which are least deep in barbarism and it often has to be done voluntarily by the hero or the martyr. and this and though their removal world becomes not wanting. sufficiently intelligent and generous yet every to bear a however small and un conspicuous. and the obligation. . what concerns us still more. these are principally the effect either of gross imprudence. it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind. or of bad or imperfect All the grand sources. what is individual happiness. conquerable many care of them almost effort by human and is grievously slow a long succession of generations will perish in though the breach before the conquest is completed. for the sake of something which he prizes more than his But this something.
after all. yet so long as the world is in that imperfect state.sacrifice must be unless : for some end .ITS MEANING. can . and place them also in the condition he thought that his himself would produce who have renounced happiness ? All honour to those who can abnegate for themselves the personal enjoyment of life. which is better than happiness. when by such renunciation they of persons ness in the world contribute worthily to increase the amount of happibut he who does it. do be an inspiriting proof of what men can do. but assuredly not an example of what they should. and if we are not happiness. the such a sacrifice is conscious ability to do without happiness gives the best prospect of realizing such happiness as is attainable. only in a very imperfect state of the world's arrangements that any one can best serve the He may Though it is happiness of others by the absolute sacrifice of his own. that in this condition of found in man. paradoxical as the assertion may be. it is not its own end . but to make their lot like his. the happiness of others. this self. I ask. For nothing except that consciousness. but virtue. or chances of it but. or professes to . for any other purpose. 23 it. I fully acknowledge that the readiness to make the highest virtue which can be I will add. it. or some of the of happiness ? It is noble to be capable of requisites resigning entirely one's own portion of happiness. the world. is no more deserving of admiration than the ascetic mounted on his pillar. would the sacrifice be is told that its end the hero or martyr did not believe that it would earn for others immunity from similar sacriif made fices ? Would it be made if renunciation of happiness for no fruit for any of his fellow creatures.
and enables him. but that of all concerned. any more than about their inevitable end. or/ tend to increase. that the happiness which forms the utilitarian standard of what is right in conduct.24 raise a person UTILITARIANISM. . we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. frees him from excess of anxiety concerning the evils of life. him life. to cultivate in tranquillity the sources of satisfaction accessible to him. like many a Stoic in the worst above the chances of feel that. they have not power to subdue him which. what the assailants of utilitarianism seldom have the justice to acknowledge. times of the Eoman Meanwhile. by making and fortune do their worst. of others either of mankind collectively. The utilitarian morality beings the power of sacrificing their own greatest good for the good of others. It only refuses to admit that the sacrifice is itself a does recognise in good. wasted. as either to the Stoic or to the Transcendentalist. without concerning himself about the uncertainty of their duration. him of Nazareth. or of individuals within the limits imposed collective interests of mankind. by the I must again repeat. human A sacrifice which does not increase. the sum total of happiness. is devotion to the happiness. let fate : Empire. is not the agent's own happiness. and to . once felt. or to some of the means of happiness. As between his own and happiness and that of others. let utilitarians never cease to claim the morality of self devotion as a possession which belongs by as good a right to them. it considers as The only self-renunciation which it applauds. To do as you would be done by. utilitarianism re- quires to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested In the golden rule of Jesus benevolent spectator.
utility that laws and social arrangements should place the happiness. for the universal happiness prescribes. constitute the ideal As the means of perfection of utilitarian morality. such systems rely on for giving effect to their mandates. not accessible to the utilitarian. of every individual. making the nearest approach to this ideal. cannot always be objectors to utilitarianism charged with representing it in a discreditable light. so that not only he may be unable to conceive the possibility of happiness to himself. as regard . which have so vast a power over human character. 25 love your neighbour as yourself. that education and opinion. should so use that power as to establish in the mind of every individual an indissoluble association between his own happiness and the good of the whole especially between his own happiness and the practice of such modes of conduct. consistently with conduct opposed to the general good. and the sentiments connected therewith may fill a large and pro- minent place in every human being's sentient existence. first. I know not what recommendation possessed by any other morality they could possibly affirm to be wanting what more beautiful or more exalted developto it ments of human nature any other ethical system can . or (as speaking practically it may be called) the interest. or what springs of action. would nearly as possible in harmony with the interest of the whole. and secondly. be supposed to foster. If the impugners of the utilitarian morality represented it to their own minds in this its true character. The .' ITS MEANING. but also that a direct impulse to promote the general good may be in every individual one of the habitual motives of action. as enjoin. negative and positive.
and in direct obedience to principle it is a misapprehension of the utilitarian greater obligations. if condemn them. to : But mode should of thought. and rightly so done. He who saves a fellow creature from drowning does what is morally right. or society at large. It is the business of ethics to tell us what them are our duties. to conceive it as implying that people fix their minds upon so wide a generality as the The great majority of good world. It is the more unjust to utilitarianism that this particular misapprehension should be made a ground of objection to it. On sometimes find fault with its standard as being too is high for humanity. actions are intended not for the benefit of the world. and confound the rule of action with the motive of it. . by what test we may know . is guilty of a crime. those among them who entertain anything like a just idea of its disinterested character.20 UTILITARIANISM. the contrary. or . ninety-nine hundredths of all our actions are done from other motives. inasmuch as utilitarian moralists have gone beyond almost all others in affirming that the motive the rule of duty does not has nothing to do with the morality of the action. whether his motive be duty. speak only of actions done from the motive of duty. though much with the worth of the agent. But this is to mistake the very meaning of a standard of morals. They say it exacting too much to require that people shall always act from the inducement of promoting the general interests of society. but no system of ethics requires that the sole motive of all we do shall be a feeling of duty on the contrary. or the hope of being paid for his trouble he who betrays the friend that trusts him. even if his object be to serve another friend to whom he is under .
of . the legitimate and The multiauthorized expectations. abstinences indeed of things which people forbear to do from moral considerations. the object of virtue : the occasions on which any person (except one in a thousand) has it in his power to do this on an extended scale. if practised generally. the particular persons concerned. need concern themselves In the case of habitually about so large an object. in is he called on to consider public every other case. except so far as is necessary to assure himself that in benefiting them he is not violating the rights. would be generally injurious. and that this is the ground of the obligation to abstain from of regard for the public interest imin this recognition. The same . that is. it. for they all enjoin to abstain from whatever is manifestly pernicious to society. plication of happiness is. of any one else. 27 but which the good of the world is made up and the thoughts of the most virtuous man need not on these occasions travel heyond for that of individuals. are but exceptional and on . is all he has to attend to. The amount considerations dispose of another reproach still against the doctrine of utility. is no greater than is demanded plied by every system of morals.ITS MEANING.other words to be a public benefactor. Those alone the influence of whose actions extends to society in general. though the consequences in the particular case might be beneficial it would be unworthy of an intelligent agent not to be consciously aware that the action is of a class which. private utility. the interest or happiness of some few persons. in . according to the utilitarian ethics. founded on a standard of grosser misconception of the purpose of a and of the very meaning of the words right morality. these occasions alone utility.
They are also aware that a right action does not necessarily indicate a virtuous character. concern about anything but virtue. is beautiful. a brave. and are perfectly willing to allow to all of them their full worth. but against having any standard of morality at all for certainly no known . is rich. is a king. vant. renders often affirmed that utilitarianism . not to the estimation of actions. men cold and unsympathizing that . It is and wrong. indeed. still less because done by an amiable. The Stoics. or a benevolent ethical standard decides man. These considerations are rele. not taking into their moral estimate the qualities from which those actions emanate. qualities besides virtue. were fond who has that has everything that . an action to be good or bad because it is done by a good or a bad man. with the paradoxical misuse of language which was part of their system. If the assertion means that they do not allow their judgment respecting the rightness or wroiigness of an action to be influenced by their opinion of the qualities of the person who does it. and only he. But no claim of this description is made for the virtuous man by the utilitarian Utilitarians are quite aware that there are other desirable possessions and doctrine. or the contrary. and that actions which are blame- . but of ^persons and there is nothing in the utilitarian theory incon- with the fact that there are other things which interest us in persons besides the rightness and wrongsistent ness of their actions. it chills it their moral feelings towards individuals that makes of them regard only the dry and hard consideration the consequences of actions. this is a complaint not against utilitarianism.28 UTILITARIANISM. and by which they strove to raise themselves above all of saying that he he.
. we may affirm that among utili- tarians as among every imaginable the application of their standard some are even puriwhile others are as indulgent as tanically rigorous. to repel. of which the predominant tendency is to produce bad conduct. not certainly of the act. and resolutely refuse to consider any mental disposition as good. this may be admitted. As a matter of fact. Utilitarians who have cultivated their moral do feelings. do fall into this mistake . but of the I grant that they are. namely. modifies their estimation. is What can be said in excuse for other moralists equally available for them. 29 able. it is better that it should be on that side.ITS MEANING. . and do not lay sufficient stress upon the other beauties of character which go towards making a human being loveable or admirable. it When this is apparent in any particular case. : adherents of other systems. but not their sympathies nor their and so artistic perceptions. notwithstanding. as measured by the utilitarian standard. there is degree of rigidity and of laxity in can possibly be desired by sinner or by sentimentalist. with too exclusive a regard. of agent. opinion. that if there is to be any error. all other moralists under the same conditions. often proceed from qualities entitled to praise. This makes them unpopular with many people but it is an unpopularity which they must share with every one who regards the distinction between right and wrong in a serious light and the reproach is not one which a conscientious utilitarian need be anxious . that in the long run the best proof of a good character is good actions . If no many utilitarians look more be meant by the objection than that on the morality of actions.
is likely to he inferior to no other in turning the sanctions of opinion against such violations. of the Deity.:>() UTILITARIANISM. law ? is one on which those who recognise different standards of morality are likely now and then to differ. against so mere an we may If it say that the question depends true. pression and prevention of conduct which violates the moral law. . But difference of opinion on moral questions was not first introduced into the world hy utilitarianism. that the vulgarest misunderstandings of ethical doctrines are continually met with in the deliberate writings of persons of the greatest pretensions both to high principle and to philonot uncommonly hear the doctrine of sophy. often give themselves so little trouble to understand the bearings of any opinion against which they entertain a prejudice. if not always an easy. the question. It What does violate the moral is true. und men are in general so little conscious of this voluntary ignorance as a defect. belief upon what idea we have formed of the moral character be a that God desires. \vliile at all that doctrine does supply. events a tangible and intelligible mode of deciding such differences. all If it be necessary to say anything at assumption. We utility inveighed against as a godless doctrine. even those which are so obvious and gross that it might appear impossible for any person of candour and intelligence to fall into them. even of considerable mental endowments. since persons. It the may not be superfluous to notice a few more of common misapprehensions of utilitarian ethics. adoctrino which lyings prominently forward the interest that mankind have in the n I>ui on the vvliolc.
can afford to ethical religion. to interpret to us the will of God. is as open to the utilitarian moralist as He can use it as the testimony of God to the usefulness or hurtfulness of any given course of action. in to contrast it with Principle. geneexpedient for the particular means that which . tarianism does not recognise the revealed will of God as the supreme law of morals. them. and is fitted. must fulfil the requirements of utility in a supreme degree. I answer. by as good a right as others can use it for the indication of a transcendental law. and incline them to do it tell when found. having no connexion with usefulness or with happiness. and taking advantage of the popular use of that term But the Expedient. the sense in which rally it is is opposed to the Eight. carefully followed out. believes in the perfect goodness and wisdom necessarily believes that whatever God has to reveal on the subject of morals. what and that we need a doctrine of ethics. But others besides utilitarians have been of opinion thought fit that the Christian revelation was intended. Again. rather than to it is . investigation. to inform the hearts and minds of mankind with a spirit themselves what which should enable them to find for is right.ITS MEANING. Utility is often summarily stigmatized as an immoral doctrine by giving it the name of Expediency. that an utilitarian who of God. the happiness of his creatures. and that this was his purpose in their creation. Whether this opinion is correct or not. 31 above things. it is . to any other. but more profoundly If it be meant that utilireligious than any other. since whatever aid superfluous here to discuss either natural or revealed. utility is all not only not a godless doctrine. except in a very general way.
but which violates a rule whose observance is expedient in a much higher The Expedient. But inasmuch as the cultivation in ourselves of a sensitive feeling on the subject of veracity. is not expedient. for the sake of a convenience to himself or to some other individual. in place. involved in the greater or less reliance which they can place in each other's word. interest of the agent himself. and inflict upon him to deprive them the evil. admits of possible exceptions. sacred as it is. things to which our conduct can be instrumental. for a present advantage. deviation from truth. does that ing the trustworthiness of not only the principal support of all present social well-being. to tell a lie. even unintentional. it would often be expedient. but the insufficiency of which . which is than any one thing that can be named to keep back civilization.32 UTILITARIANISM. is a branch of the hurtful. and inasmuch as any. in this sense. is acknowledged by all . virtue. some temporary purpose. everything on which human hapwe feel that the piness on the largest scale depends . of a rule of such transcendant expediency. as when a Minister sacrifices the interests of his country to keep himself "When it means anything better than this. or attaining some object immediately useful to ourselves or others. for the purpose of getting over some momentary embarrassment. Thus. instead of being degree. it means that which is expedient for some immediate object. and that he who. violation. and the enfeeblement of that feeling one of the most hurtful. acts the part of one of their worst enemies. does what depends on mankind of the good. Tet that even this rule. the same thing with the useful.does more much towards weakenhuman assertion. is one of the most useful.
the chief of which when the withholding of some fact (as of information from a malefactor. The answer to the objection is. Again. previous to action. to read through the Old and New Testaments. may have principle of utility for is good for anything. for calculating and weighing the effects of any line of conduct on the is This is exactly as if any one were general happiness. are dependent. it must be weighing these conflicting utilities against good one another. and marking out the region within which one or the other preponderates. to say that it is impossible to guide our conduct by Christianity. because there is not time. at the moment when some man feels put off. is 33 moralists . and. But in order that the exception may not extend itself beyond the need. ment of this course of experience had hitherto been and as if. as well as all the morality of life. and when the withholding can only be effected by denial. that there has been ample time. People talk as if the commenceall that time . on every occasion on which anything has to be done.ITS MEANING. namely. or of bad news from a person dangerously ill) would save an individual (especially an individual other than oneself) from great and unmerited evil. it ought to be recogand if the nized. Dur- ing mankind have been learning by exthe tendencies of actions on which experiperience ence all the prudence. the whole past duration of the human species. he had to begin considering for the first time whether D . its limits defined . defenders of utility often find themselves called upon to reply to such objections as this that there not time. if possible. tempted to meddle with the property or life of another. and the least possible effect in weakening reliance on veracity.
The earnestly maintain. theft are injurious to liuman happiness. I admit. on many subjects that the received code of ethics is by no means of divine right and that mankind have still much to learn as to the effects of actions on the general happi. like the precepts of every practical art. admit of indefinite improveness. and. time have acquired positive beliefs as to the effects of and the beliefs some actions on their happiness which have thus come down are the rules of morality for the multitude. . and would take no measures for having their notions on the subject taught to the young. and enforced by law and opinion. they would remain without any agreement as to what is useful. ment. murder and Even is question very puzzling but. . It is a strange notion that the acknowledgment of a first principle is inconsistent with the admission of secondary ones. if we suppose universal idiocy to be conjoined with it but on any hypothesis short of that. the matter now done to his hand. mankind must by this . improvement is perpetually going on. is another. sider the rules of morality as improvable. . at all events. or rather. But to con. There is no difficulty in proving any ethical standard whatever to work ill. and for the philosopher until he That philosophers has succeeded in finding better. in a progressive state of the their human mind. supposition that if mankind truly a whimsical were agreed in considerIt is ing utility to be the test of morality. corollaries from the principle of utility. and endeavour to test each individual action directly by the first principle.34 UTILITARIANISM. might easily do this. then I do not think that he would find the . is one thing to pass over the intermediate generalizations entirely. even now.
Nobody argues that the art of navigation is not founded on astronomy. can afford no argument against any one in particular but gravely to argue as if no such secondary principles could be had. does not mean that no road ought to be laid down to that goal. which they would neither talk nor listen to on other matters of practical concernment. subordinate principles to apply it by the impossibility of doing without them. and the D 2 . as well as on many of the far more difficult questions of wise and foolish. Being rational creatures. The remainder of the stock arguments against the utilitarianism mostly consist in laying to its charge common infirmities of human nature. and as if mankind had remained till now. as long as foresight sumed as the quality. I think. without drawing any general conclusions from the experience . And this.ITS MEANING. as absur- dity has ever reached in philosophical controversy. The proposition that happiness is the end and aim of morality. 35 To inform a traveller respecting the place of his ulti- mate destination. of human life. being common to all systems. is not to forbid the use of landmarks and direction-posts on the way. or that persons going thither should not be advised to take one direction rather than another. and always must remain. because sailors cannot wait to calculate the Nautical Almanack. we require . it is to be prethey will continue to do. right and wrong. is as high a pitch. they go to sea with it ready calculated and all rational creatures go out upon the sea of life with their minds made up on the common questions of . Whatever we adopt is a human fundamental principle of morality. Men really ought to leave off talking a kind of nonsense on this subject.
These are the real the knotty points both in the theory of ethics. when under temptation. greater than he will see in its observance. They or with less overcome practically with greater success according to the intellect and are it can hardly be pretended that any one will be the less qualified for dealing with them. which embarrass conscientious persons in shaping their course through life. conduct. self-deception and There exists no moral dishonest casuistry get in. creed.36 general difficulties UTILITARIANISM. . But is utility the only creed which is able to furnish us with excuses for evil doing. the existence of conflicting considerations which all doctrines do. system under which there do not arise unequivocal cases of conflicting obligation. and means of cheating our own conscience ? They are afforded in abundance by all doctrines which recognise as a fact in morals . told that an utilitarian will be apt to make his We are own particular case an exception to moral rules.require no exceptions. and. and that hardly any kind of action can safely be laid down as either always obligatory or always condefnnable. will see an utility in the breach of a rule. at the opening thus made. but of the complicated human affairs. under the moral responsibility of the agent. There is no ethical creed which does not temper the by giving a certain latitude. for accommodation to peculiarities of circumstances and under every rigidity of its laws. and in the conscientious guidance of personal difficulties. that have been believed by sane persons. from possessing an ultimate standard to which conflicting rights and duties can be virtue of the individual. that rules of conduct cannot be so framed as to . but . It is nature of not the fault of any creed.
person by whom the principle itself is recognised. afford a free influence of considerations We scope for the action of personal desires and partialities. between Though the application of the standard may be difficult. utility may be invoked to decide their demands are incompatible. there entitled to interfere no common umpire . moral obligation in which some secondary principle is not involved any real and if only one. in the mind of any . 37 referred.ITS MEANING. . as they generally by the unacknowledged of utility. it is better than none at all while in other systems. there can seldom be doubt which one it is. the : moral laws is all claiming independent authority. mined. between them rest on little their claims to precedence one over another better than sophistry. must remember that only in these cases of conflict is between secondary principles it requisite that first There is no case of principles should be appealed to. If utility is the ultimate source of moral them when obligations. and unless deterare.
what is represented as its foundation. as if that special applicability to above others. I feel that I . whenever a person is called on to it had some adopt a standard. than with. though frequently assuming the shape of an objection to the utilitarian morality. . to stand better without. CHAPTEE UTILITiT. He says to himself. OF THE ULTIMATE SANCTION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF rPHE * its question is often asked. It arises. III. or refer morality to any basis on which he has not been accustomed to rest it. really arises in regard to all standards. For the customary morality. obli- that from some general principle round which custom has not thrown the same halo. that which education and opinion have consecrated.38 UTILITARIANISM. what whence does it derive obligation ? It is a its binding force? necessary part of moral philosophy to provide the its the source of answer to this question. the assertion is to him a paradox the supposed corollaries seem to have a more binding force than the original theorem the superstructure seems this morality derives its obligation . in fact. and properly so. in regard to any supposed moral standard What is sanction ? what are the motives to obey it ? or is more specifically. which. is the only one which presents itself to the mind with the feeling of being in itself gatory and when a person is asked to believe .
am bound not to rob or murder, betray or deceive why am I bound to promote the general happiness ? If my own happiness lies in something else, why may I not give that the preference ?
If the view adopted by the utilitarian philosophy nature of the moral sense be correct, this
until the influences
which form moral character have taken the same hold of the principle which they have taken of some of the
consequences until, by the improvement of education, the feeling of unity with our fellow-creatures shall be (what it cannot be denied that Christ intended it to be) as deeply rooted in our character, and
consciousness as completely a part of our nature, as the horror of crime is in an ordinarily well brought up young person. In the mean time, however, the difficulty has
no peculiar application to the
inherent in every attempt to analyse morality and reduce it to principles which, unless the principle is already in men's minds invested
doctrine of utility, but
sacredness as any of its applications, seems to divest them of a part of their
is no which
principle of utility either has, or there why it might not have, all the sanctions
belong to any other system of morals.
tions are either external or internal.
sanctions it is not necessary to speak at any length. They are, the hope of favour and the fear of displeasure from our fellow creatures or from the Huler of
the Universe, along with whatever
or affection for them, or of love
we may have and awe
inclining us to do his will independently of
There consequences. all these motives for
evidently no reason observance should not
attach themselves to the utilitarian morality, as completely
as powerfully as to
refer to our fellow creatures are
sure to do so, in proportion to the amount of general for whether there he any other ground intelligence
of moral obligation
than the general happiness or do desire happiness and however imperfect
practice, they desire and commend conduct in others towards themselves, by which they think their happiness is promoted. With regard
to the religious motive, if men believe, as most profess to do, in the goodness of God, those who think that
conduciveness to the general happiness is the essence, or even only the criterion of good, must necessarily
approves. therefore of external reward and
punishment, whether physical or moral, and whether proceeding from God or from our fellow men, together with all that the capacities of human nature admit,
of disinterested devotion to either, become available to
enforce the utilitarian morality, in proportion as that morality is recognized and the more powerfully, the more the appliances of education and general cultiva;
tion are bent to the purpose. So far as to external sanctions.
tion of duty, whatever our standard of duty may be, is one and the same a feeling in our own mind ; a
more or less intense, attendant on violation of duty, which in properly cultivated moral natures rises, in the more serious cases, into shrinking from it as an This feeling, when disinterested, and impossibility.
itself with the pure idea of duty, and not with some particular form of it, or with any of the merely accessory circumstances, is the essence of Con-
though in that complex phenomenon
actually exists, the simple fact is in general all encrusted over with collateral associations, derived from
sympathy, from love, and still more from fear from the forms of religious feeling from the recollec;
tions of childhood
esteem, desire of the esteem of others, arid occasionally
This extreme complication is, I the origin of the sort of mystical character apprehend, which, by a tendency of the human mind of which
apt to be attributed
to the idea of moral obligation, and which leads people to believe that the idea cannot possibly attach itself to
objects than those which, by a supposed mysterious law, are found in our present experience to excite it. Its binding force, however, consists in the
existence of a mass of feeling which must be broken through in order to do what violates our standard of
nevertheless violate that
standard, will probably have to be encountered afterwards in the form of remorse. Whatever theory we
have of the nature or origin of conscience, this
(external motives apart) being a subjective feeling in our own minds, I see nothing embarrassing to those
is utility, in the question, what is the sanction of that particular standard ? may answer, the same as of all other moral standards the con-
the force he is really urged by is his own seat in human consciousness only. Meanwhile the feelings exist. so far as it is disinterested. sanction has no binding efficacy on those who do not but neither will possess the feelings it appeals to . There a person fact. a disposition to believe that sees in moral obligation a transcendental am an objective to Things it than one who believes its reality belonging to the province of in themselves/ is likely to be more obedient it to be entirely subjective. that this sanction will not exist in the mind unless it is believed the mind and the notion therefore to have its root out of the is mind . But having whatever a person's opinion may be on this point of Ontology. I who aware. shown why they may not be cultivated to as great intensity in connexion with the utilitarian. and the great power with which they are capable of acting on those in whom they have been duly cultivated. . morality of any kind has no hold but through the external sanctions. a nature. only operates on conduct through. ' is. the reality of which. subjective feeling. is itself. apart from the expectation of actual . reward and punishment. and is exactly measured by its No one's belief that Duty is an objective strength. The sanction. are fact in human No reason has ever been proved by experience. the subjective religious feeling. and in proportion to. these persons be more obedient to any other moral On them principle than to the utilitarian one. always in of the transcendental moralists must be. as with any other rule of morals. reality is stronger than the belief that God is so yet the belief in Grod. and that is if a person able to say to himself.42 UTILITARIANISM. This which restraining me.
If there be anything innate in the matter. for the philosophic supporters of that theory are now agreed that the intuitive perception is of principles of morality.ITS SANCTIONS. if they answer it affirmatively. it is an open question to what objects it naturally attaches itself. he may possibly draw the conclusion that when the feeling ceases the obligation ceases. in the generality of minds. conscience can be silenced or stifled. It is Assuming it to be innate. to decide whether the feeling of duty is innate or implanted. I see no reason is why the feeling which innate should not be that of regard to the pleasures and pains of others. and is and which called my conscience. and not of the details. 43 is only a feeling in my own mind. and endeavour to get rid of it. that if he find the feeling inconvenient. for the present purpose. The question. intuitively obligatory. with the and there would be no further quarrel between them. If there is any principle of morals is which be that. danger confined to the utilitarian morality? Does the belief that moral obligation has its seat outside the mind make the feeling of it too strong to be got rid of? The fact is so far otherwise. as by its adherents. that all moralists admit and lament the ease with which. will not do so because they believe in the transcendental theory. I should say it must If so. he may disBut is this regard it. the intuitive ethics would coincide utilitarian. not necessary. Need I obey my conscience ? is quite as often put to themselves by persons who never heard of the principle of utility. Even as it is. the intuitive . but because of the external sanctions. Those feelings are so whose conscientious weak as to allow of their asking this question.
to cultivate the The ground. of spring- ing up spontaneously. in a certain small degree. belief in the transcendental origin of On the other hand. to reason. UTILITARIANISM. potency might be given by the same means to the principle of utility. Therefore. if the moral obligation additional efficacy to the internal sanction. but acquired. gives any it appears to me that the utilitarian principle has already the benefit of it. though they believe that there are other intuitive moral obligations. by means of these influences. capable. though these are acquired faculties. do already believe this to be one for they unanimously hold that a large portion . by of development. of being cultivated in almost any direction : so that there is it hardly anything so absurd or so mis- chievous that be made to authority of may not. as is my own belief. is a natural outgrowth from it. a sufficient use of the external sanctions and of the force of early impressions. like them. even if it had no foundation in .44 moralists. to build cities. unhappily. if. the moral faculty. is a fact admitted . by those who believe the most strenuously in their Like the other acquired capatranscendental origin. the moral feelings are not innate. and susceptible of being brought by cultivation Unhappily it is to a high degree also susceptible. act on the human mind with all the To doubt that the same conscience. if not a part of our nature. they are not for that reason the less natural. It is natural to man to speak. of morality turns upon the consideration due to the interests of our fellow creatures. cities above referred to. in the sense of being in any perceptible degree present in all of us but this. moral feelings are not indeed a part of our nature.
would be flying in the experience. he never conceives himself otherwise than as a member stances or effort by an of a body and this association is rivetted more and more. even after it had been implanted by education. in short. might be analysed But there is this basis of powerful natural sentiment and this it is which. even without express inculcation. would appear equally arbitrary. yield by degrees to the dissolving force of analysis and if the feeling of duty.ITS SANCTIONS. . But moral associations which are wholly of artificial creation. if there were no leading : department of our nature. except in some unusual circumof voluntary abstraction. in others (for and incline us which we have abundant interested motives). a natural basis . that. when intellectual culture goes on. away. it might well happen that this association also. when once the general . as mankind are further removed from the state . recognised as the ethical standard. human nature. so necessary. with which that association would harmonize. and so habitual to man. will constitute the strength of the utilitarian morality. The once so natural. no powerful class of sentiments. 45 face of all human nature. and happily one of those which tend to become stronger. of sentiment for utilitarian morality. which would make us not only to foster it feel it congenial. happiness is This firm foundation is that of the social feelings of the desire to be in unity with our fellow which is already a powerful principle in creatures. mankind from the influences of advancing social state is at civilization. . but also to cherish it in ourselves if there were not. when associated with utility.
and proposing to themselves a collective. has equals. They are also familiar with the fact of co-operating with others.46 UTILITARIANISM. Society between equals can only exist on the understanding that the interests of all are to be regarded equally. their ends are identified with those of others is . of their actions. And since in all states of civiliza- every person. and all healthy growth of society. therefore. people's are under a necessity of conceiving all themselves as at least abstaining from injuries. tion. which is essential to a state of society. except an absolute monarch. except in the relation of master and slave. Any condition. is manifestly impossible on any other footing than that the interests of all are to be consulted. society between human beings. not an indi- vidual interest as the aim (at least for the time being) So long as they are co-operating. it also leads him to identify his feelings more and more . and which is the destiny of a human being. of savage independence. In this to way people grow up unable to conceive as them a state of total disregard of other They and (if possible interests. give to each individual a stronger personal interest in practically consulting the welfare of others. becomes more and more an inseparable part of every person's conception of the state of things which he is born into. at least a strengthening of social ties. and in every age some advance is made towards a state in which it will be impossible to live permanently on other terms with anybody. Now. there temporary feeling that the interests of Not only does all others are their own interests. every one is obliged to live on these terms with somebody. the grosser only for their own protection) living in a state of constant protest against them.
improving state of the human mind. or . is felt to be more natural. He comes. Now. to be conscious of himself as a with their good. and a have it. this feeling a person has. motives both of interest he is urged by the strongest as greatly interested as any one else that others should Consequently the smallest germs of the feeling are laid hold of and nourished by the contagion of sympathy and the influences of education. whatever amount of and of sympathy to demonand to the utmost of his power encourage it strate it. any beneficial benefits of which they are not included. owing to which there are large portions of mankind whose by removing the sources of and levelling those inequalities In an practicable to disregard. Every step in political improveit more so. human and more ment renders as civilization goes on. as degree though instinctively. of institutions. he is . opposition of interest. or at being The good of course pays regard to others. and . condition for himself. like any of the physical conditions of our existence. life. the influences are constantly on the increase.ITS SANCTIONS. 47 least with an ever greater of practical consideration for it. in others and even if he has none of it himself. desire. of others becomes to him a thing naturally and neces- who sarily to be attended to. of legal privilege between individuals or classes. which tend to generate in happiness it is still each individual a feeling of unity with all the rest which. would make him never think of. by the powerful agency of the external This mode of conceiving ourselves and sanctions. round complete web of corroborative association is woven it. and the whole force of education. in the If we now suppose this feeling of unity to be taught as a religion. if perfect.
to make every person grow up from infancy surrounded on all sides both by the profession and the practice of it. and colour all thought. directed. of opinion. make obligation felt by mankind In the comparatively early state of human advancement in which we now live. it. will feel any misgiving about the sufficiency of the ultimate sanction for the Happiness finds morality. and action. not that it by any religion may should be insufficient. as it once was in the case of religion. the strongest objections to the system of politics and morals set forth in that treatise .4S UTILITARIANISM. but that it should be so excessive as to interfere unduly with human freedom and individuality. feeling. general direction of their conduct in life impossible a person in whom the social feeling is at but already . realization facilitating To any ethical student who as a the means of difficult. who can realize this conception. the second of M. but I think it has possibility of giving to the service of humanity. the Traite de Politique Positive. ever exercised foretaste . I think that no one. even without the aid of belief in a Providence. both the psychological power and superabundantly shown the the social efficacy of a religion making it take hold of human life. be but a type and and of which the danger is. recommend. necessary to the feeling which constitutes the binding force of the utilitarian morality on Neither is it those who recognise it. in a manner of which the greatest ascendancy . Comte's two principal I I entertain works. to wait for those social influits ences which would at large. a person cannot feel indeed others. that entireness of sympathy with all which would make any real discordance in the .
it possesses all the gether. or itself to their a law despotically imposed by the power of society. but is. work with. which makes any mind. or act in an opposite direction. of well developed feelings. but as an attribute which it would not be well for them to be without. and is often wanting alto- But to those who have it. and when sanctions are wanting. the outward motives to is care for others. 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. 49 developed. cannot bring himself to think of the rest of his fellow creatures as struggling rivals with him for the means of happiness. in proportion to the sensitiveness and thoughtfulness of the E . It does not present characters of a natural feeling. afforded by what I have those called the ex- ternal sanctions . constitutes in itself a powerful internal binding force.ITS SANCTIONS. it If differences of opinion and of mental culture make impossible for him to share many of their actual feelings feelings he perhaps make him denounce and defy those still needs to be conscious that his real . whom he must desire to all see defeated in their object in order that he may succeed in his. promoting it. and not against. on the contrary. This conviction is the ultimate This it sanction of the greatest happiness morality. minds as a superstition of education. feeling in most individuals is much inferior in strength to their selfish feelings. namely their own This good. aim and theirs do not conflict that he is not opposing himself to what they really wish for.
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. . whose mind is a moral blank. since few but those .50 character UTILITARIANISM.
But the Can an appeal be made ? to the same faculties what other faculty on questions of practical ends is Or by cognizance taken of them ? about ends are. in other words. being matters of fact. questions Questions are desirable. our conduct. as well as to those of is common to all first former. is audible.51 CHAPTEE OF IY. UTILITY WHAT SORT OF PROOF THE PRINCIPLE OF IS SUSCEPTIBLE. has already been remarked. all of this doctrine what conditions fulfil is it the doctrine should to make good requisite that its claim to be believed? The only proof capable is visible. The utilitarian doctrine and the only thing deother things being only desirable as means to that end. ITultimate reasoning principles. that questions of ends do not admit of proof. our senses. sirable. of being given that an object The only that people actually see it. In like is : manner. what things is. and our internal consciousness. may be the subject of a direct appeal to the faculties which judge of fact namely. to the first premises of our knowledge. What ought to be required that happiness is desirable. the sole evidence it is possible E2 . in the ordinary To be incapable of proof by acceptation of the term. as an end . I apprehend. is that people hear it proof that a sound and so of the other sources of our experience.
but it is as authentic a fact. it would seem. is that people do actually desire it. not only that people it But desire happiness. acknowledged to be an end. by the same rule. But does the utilitarian doctrine deny that people is desire virtue. happiness. utilitarian standard hence the opponents of the deem that they have a right to And infer that there are other ends of human action besides happiness. necessary to show. No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable. and that happiness is not the standard of approbation and disapprobation. virtue. as the desire of happiness. in theory and in practice. or maintain that virtue not a thing to . in common language. it is palpable that they do desire things Now which. for example. morality. therefore. so far as he believes it to be This. except that each person. Happiness has made out its title as one of the ends of is conduct.52 UTILITARIANISM. They desire. to produce that anything is desirable. To do that. nothing could ever convince any person that it was so. and the general happiness. and consequently one of the criteria of has not. If the end which the utilitarian doctrine proposes to itself were not. that happiness is a good that each person's happiness : attainable. but that they never desire anything else. proved itself to/ be the sole criterion. however. no less really than pleasure and the absence of pain. we have not only all the proof which the being case admits of. desires his own a good to that person. but all which it is possible to require. and the absence of vice. a fact. are decidedly distin- guished from happiness. by this alone. a good to the aggregate of all persons. The desire of virtue is not as universal.
without looking to any end beyond it not in a right state. They are desired and besides being means. not in a state conformable to Utility. for instance. Yirtue. ciple of utility does not mean that any given pleasure. 53 The very It maintains not only to be desired. and it having may been decided. however they believe (as they do) that actions and dispositions are only virtuous because they promote another end than virtue. to the individual. and not merely when The princonsidered as swelling an aggregate. in the smallest it to be virtue. as for example health. and each of them is desirable in itself. are to means to a collective something termed happiness. or any given exemption from be looked upon as pain. even although. from considerations of this description.HOW be desired? that virtue is PROVED. it should not produce those other desirable consequences which tends to produce. Whatever may be the disinterestedly. not in the state most conducive to the general happiness. The ingredients of happiness are very various. but they also recognise as a psychological fact the possibility of its being. a departure from the Happiness principle. that the mind is virtue in this manner as a thing desirable in itself. they are a part of the end. and on account of which it is held This opinion is not. yet this being granted. opinion of utilitarian moralists as to the original conditions by which virtue is made virtue . desirable in and for themselves to be desired . in the individual instance. they not only place virtue at the very head of the things which are good as means to the ultimate end. for itself. but that it is to be desired reverse. a good in itself. and on that account. and hold. as music. degree. according to the . what is virtuous. unless it does love .
is desired not for the sake of an end. which has at least the semblance of being naturally inherent in them a thing which cannot be said of money. for example. Its worth is solely that of the things which it will buy. however. that it. illustrate this farther. said of the majority of the great objects of human life power. are falling off. but as money From being a means to happiness. Still. naturally and originally capable of becoming so and . the desire to possess it is often stronger than the desire to use it. would be and remain indifferent. but which by association with what it is a means to. shall we say of the love of money ? There is nothing originally more desirable about money than about any heap of glittering pebbles. itself. the desires for other things than itself. is not part of the end.54 UTILITARIANISM. but money is. . and is desired and cherished. or fame except that to each of these there is a certain amount of immediate pleasure . annexed. and that too with the utmost intensity. but as a part of their happiness. To we may remember virtue is not the only thing. be said truly. in many cases. then. which it is a means Yet the love of money is not only one of gratifying. and goes on increasing when all the desires which point to ends beyond it. comes to be desired for What. desired in and for itself. the strongest natural . has come to be itself a principal ingredient of the in- The same may be dividual's conception of happiness. for example. not as a means to happithat ness. and which if it were not a means to anything else. originally a means. but it is in those who love it disinterestedly it has become so. utilitarian doctrine. to be compassed by It may. it part of the end. of the strongest moving forces of human life.
however. very ill pro- vided with sources of happiness. Happiness concrete whole . In these cases the means have become a part of the end. desired as part of happiness. according to the utilitarian conception. and even in intensity. PROVED. Virtue. The desire not a different thing from the desire of happiness. and a more important part of it than any of the things which they are means to. They are included in happiness. and these are some of made is desire of happiness not an abstract idea. And the utilitarian standard sanctions and approves their being so. the satisfaction of our primitive desires. is a good of this description. In being desired for its own sake it is. happy by its mere possession and . if there were not this originally indif- by which things ferent. What was once desired as an instrument for the attainment of happiness. but conducive to. or otherwise associated with. any more than the love of music. is 55 the immense both of power and of fame. aid they give to the attainment of our other wishes . They are of some of the elements of which the is up. and it is the strong association thus generated between them and as in our objects of desire. so all some characters to surpass in strength all other desires. which gives to the direct desire of them the intensity it often assumes. There was no original desire .HOW attraction. is made unhappy by it is failure to obtain it. has come to be desired for its own sake. Life would be a poor thing. The person is made. but a its parts. or thinks he would be made. provision of nature. both in permanency. or the desire of health. become in themselves sources of pleasure more valuable than the primitive pleasures. in the space of human existence that they are capable of covering.
or of fame. and often do. and pain in not having attained more. or for both reasons united. desire it either because the consciousness of it is a pleasure. or would him no .56 of it. as in truth the pleasure and pain seldom exist separately. render the individual noxious to the other members of the society to which he belongs. and the other no not love or desire virtue. or motive to it. that there is in reality nothing desired except happiness. If one of these gave pain. while it tolerates those other acquired desires. that all of these may. he would pleasure. UTILITARIANISM. and desired as such with as great intensity as any other good and with this difference between it and the love of money. and especially to protection from pain. all things important It results from the preceding considerations. but almost always together. and ultimately to happiness. Those who desire virtue for its own sake. is desired as itself a part of happiness. Whatever is desired otherwise than as a means to some end beyond itself. But through the association thus formed. enjoins and requires the cultivation of the love of virtue up to the greatest strength possible. of power. the same person feeling pleasure in the degree of virtue attained. save its conduciveness to pleasure. the so utilitarian standard. and is not desired for itself until it has become so. And consequently. up to and approves the point beyond which they would be more injurious to the general happiness than promotive of it. much a blessing to them as the cultivation of the disinterested love of virtue. as being above to the general happiness. or because the consciousness of being without it is a pain. whereas there is nothing which makes him . it may be felt a good in itself.
or rather two parts of the same phenomenon . happiness is the sole the only things desirable. by practised assisted by observation of others. two different modes of naming the same psychological fact that : to think of an object as desirable (unless for the sake of its consequences). and the promotion of it the test by which to judge of all human conduct from whence . except in proportion as the idea of it is pleasant. self-consciousness and self-observation. whether mankind do desire nothing for itself but that which is a pleasure to them. and to think of it as pleasant. or of which the absence is a pain we have evidently arrived at a question of . and we require no other. upon evidence. an answer to the question.HOW PROVED. in strictness of language. We have what tible. and that to desire anything. like all similar quesIt can only be determined tions. end of human action. since a part is included in the whole. dependent. of of utility is sort of proof the principle suscepis If the opinion which I have now stated if human nature is so constipsychologically true tuted as to desire nothing which is not either a part of happiness or a means of happiness. are phenomena entirely inseparable. will declare that desiring a thing and finding it pleasant. aversion to it and thinking of it as painfu]. impartially consulted. And now to decide whether this is really so. is a physical and metaphysical impossibility. . it necessarily follows that it must be the criterion of morality. are one and the same thing . 57 desire it only for the other benefits which it might produce to himself or to persons whom he cared for. I believe that these fact sources of evidence. and experience. that these are If so. now. we can have no other proof. then.
and is put in action : at other times operation by the force of habit. Many indifferent things.58 UTILITARIANISM. as positively and emphatiare outweighed cally as any one. the consciousness coming only the with conscious volition. Sometimes this is done uncon- sciously. or by the pains which the pursuit of the purposes may bring upon him. as often happens with those who have contracted habits of vicious or hurtful . the active phenomenon. Will. So obvious does this appear to me. All this I fully admit. and is nowise confined to the case of virtuous actions. desire it. or any other person whose purposes are fixed. and have stated it elsewhere. instead of willing the thing because often desire it only because we will ever. is a different thing from desire. we This. may in time take root and detach itself from the parent stock so much so. is we it. but volition which has become habitual. or expects to derive from their fulfilment and persists in acting on them. that in the case of an habitual purpose. carries out his purposes without any thought of the pleasure he has in contemplating them. not that desire can possibly be directed to any- thing ultimately except pleasure and exemption from pain. even though . that a person of confirmed virtue. but that the will is a different thing from desire . . the power of habit. in opposition perhaps to the deliberate preference. and though originally an offshoot from it. these pleasures are much diminished. by changes in his character or decay of his passive sensibilities. the state of passive sensibility. which men ori- ginally did from a motive of some to do sort. they continue after from habit. how- but an instance of that familiar fact. that I expect it will hardly be disputed: and the objection made will be.
or of its absence in a painful one. be implanted Only by making the person desire by making him think of it in a pleasurable It is by associlight. that it is possible to call forth that will to be virtuous. cluding in that term well as the attractive one of pleasure. other parts of our constitution. or the doing wrong ating with pain. 59 Third and last comes the case in which indulgence. when confirmed. It is is or desire only not the less true that will. but him in whom that virtuous will is still feeble. and that we may will from habit all that will. and passes out of the dominion of its parent only to come under that of . not in contradiction to the general intention preas in vailing at other times. which. like what we no longer because desire for itself. conquerable by temptation. Let us take into consideration.HOW PROVED. in the beginning. is amenable to habit. the doing right with pleasure. no longer the person who has a inentirely produced by desire the repelling influence of pain as confirmed will to do right. is an authentic and highly important psychological fact but the fact consists solely in this . the case of the person of confirmed virtue. but in fulfilment of it is . or by eliciting and impressing and bringing or ? awakened virtue home to the person's experience the pleasure naturally involved in the one or the pain in the other. and of all who pursue deliberately and consistently any determinate end. where it does not exist in sufficient force. . The distinction between will and desire thus understood. be strengthened ? How can the will to be virtuous. we will it. Will is the child of desire. acts without any thought of either pleasure or pain. and not to be fully relied on by what means can it . the habitual act of will in the individual instance.
were not that the influence of the pleasurable and painful associations which prompt to virtue is not sufficiently to be depended on for unerring constancy of it action until it has acquired the support of habit. or a of attaining pleasure or averting pain. In other words. and there would be no reason for wishing that the purpose of virtue should become independent of pleasure and pain. the principle of utility it is proved. must now be left to the consideration of the thoughtful reader. if this doctrine be true. the doctrine that nothing is a good to human beings but in so far as means But is either itself pleasurable.60 habit. Whether it is so or not. UTILITARIANISM. not intrinsically a good and does not contradict . habit is the only thing which imparts certainty. this state of the will is a means to good. and it is because of the in feeling Both importance to others of being able to rely absolutely on one's feelings and conduct. and in conduct. that the will to do right ought to be cultivated into this habitual independence. . and to oneself of being able to rely on one's own. That which is the result of habit affords no presumption of being intrinsically good.
there question of its no necessary connexion between the origin. to as show that the Just must have an existence in Nature something absolute. and. In the case of this. and that of its binding force. to be controlled and If we have intelenlightened by a higher reason. though (as is commonly acknowledged) never. lectual instincts. and might yet require. leading us to judge in a particular way. one of the strongest to the reception of the doctrine that is the criterion of right and wrong. like our other instincts. and apparently clear perception. there is no necessity that the former should be more infallible in their sphere than . as well as animal instincts that prompt us to act in a particular way.61 CHAPTEE V. as of our other moral sentiis ments. in the long run. The Utility or Happiness powerful sentiment. all IN obstacles ages of speculation. bestowed on us by Nature. in idea. opposed to it. disjoined from it in fact. have seemed to the majority of thinkers to point to an inherent quality in things . generically distinct from every variety of the Expedient. which that word recals with a rapidity and certainty resembling an instinct. The feeling of justice might be a peculiar instinct. does not That a feeling is necessarily legitimate all its promptings. has been drawn from the idea of Justice. ON THE CONNEXION BETWEEN JUSTICE AND UTILITY.
only a particular kind or branch of general utility. and to examine. and another to acknowledge them as an ultimate criterion of conduct. in Justice. not otherwise accounted for. Our present object is to determine whether the reality. it happen that wrong judgments are occasionally suggested by those. to see. as people are in general willing enough to allow. and distinct from all its other qualities.62 the latter in theirs UTILITARIANISM. that objectively the dictates of Justice coincide with a part of the field of General Expediency . For the purpose of this inquiry it is practically important to consider. as wrong actions by these. these two opinions are very closely con: may as well nected in point of fact. To throw light upon . of justice and injustice. is far more imperative in its demands. or a derivative feeling. whether the justice or injustice of an action a thing intrinsically peculiar. is sui generis like our sensations of colour taste. to which the feeling of justice corresponds. or only a combination of certain of is those qualities. but inasmuch as the subjective mental feeling of Justice is different from that which commonly attaches to simple expediency. it is necessary ferent origin. is a revelation of some objective reality. Mankind are always pre- disposed to believe that any subjective feeling. except in the extreme cases of the latter. whether the feeling itself. But though it is one thing to believe that we have natural feelings of justice. is one which needs any such special revelation . presented under a peculiar aspect. formed by a comAnd this it is the more essential bination of others. and. and think people find its it difficult that superior binding force requires a totally difthis question.
withcharacter. and requires to be regarded as a special If we find the former to be the provision of Nature. or whether the sentiment is inexplicable. by universal or widely spread opinion. arrangements of human affairs. is best denned by its opposite). like many other moral attributes. or quality. in resolving this question. 63 what is of injustice the distinguishing what is the : whether there common to all is any quality. are of a very multifarious I shall pass them rapidly in review. also the main problem : if the latter. but without having that particular epithet of disapprobation applied to them. out studying any particular arrangement. and objects. as Just or as UnThe things well known to excite the sentiments just. and distinguishing them from such modes of conduct as are disapproved. Let us therefore objects advert successively to the various modes of action. have resolved case. attributed in modes of conduct designated as unjust (for justice. If in everything which men are accustomed to characterize as just or unjust. we may judge whether this particular attribute or combination of attributes would be capable of gathering round it a sentiment of that peculiar character and intensity by virtue of the general laws of our emotional constitution. some one common attribute or collection of attributes is always present. have to seek for some other mode of investigating attributes of a To find the common variety of it is necessary to begin by surveying the themselves in the concrete. which are classed. or JUSTICE.HOW CONNECTED WITH to attempt to ascertain character of justice. we shall. In the first place. we shall it. it is mostly considered unjust to . associated with those names.
When it is so. again. the legal rights of which he is deprived. these rights. Here. therefore. that which the notions of justice and injustice present themselves. however bad. the legal rights of any one. ought to be disobeyed by an individual citizen . judged to be bad. and would often protect pernicious tions against the only institu- things existing at the time. . is by those who hold on grounds of expediency principally on that of the importance. is one instance of the application of the terms just and unjust in a perfectly definite sense. the law which confers on him . may is be a bad law. to the common interest of mankind. But this judgment admits of several exceptions. Secondly . if shown at when (which should only be shown in endeavouring to get it This opinion (which altered by competent authority. his property. unjust to violate. or any other thing which belongs to him by law. that any law. For example. deprive any one of his personal liberty. in the state of have any chance of sucdefended. weapons which. arising from the other forms in it is namely. that his opposition to it.64 UTILITARIANISM. opinions will differ as to the justice Some maintain that no or injustice of infringing it. just to respect. may be rights which ought not to have belonged to him in other words. or the same thing for our purpose) it is supposed to be so. may . hold the directly contrary opinion. Other persons. But also. of the most illustrious benefactors of condemns many all. the person who suffers the deprivation may (as the phrase is) have forfeited the rights which he is so deprived of: a case to which we shall return presently. of maintaining inviolate the sentiment of submission to law. ceeding against them) it. law. mankind.
justice but may give to one person a benefit. Among these diversities of opinion. by infringing someanother an body's right . but only inexpedient. JUSTICE. which restriction is an injustice. perhaps. When. while others would confine the licence of disobedience to the case of unjust laws but again. condemns. and unjust that he should obtain a good. unless legitimated by tending to their good. the clearest and most form in which the idea of justice is conemphatic As it involves the ceived by the general mind. since every : law imposes some restriction on the natural liberty of mankind. as it cannot in this case be a legal right. or impose on evil. which he does not deserve. . that all laws which are inexpedient are unjust. the question arises. receives a different appellation. it seems to be universally ad- mitted that there consequently. and that law. may say. evil if he does wrong and in a more particular sense. and is called a moral right. or be made to undergo an evil. which which. however. therefore. Thirdly. what constitutes desert Speaking in a general way. a law is thought to be unjust. 65 it even though be not judged to be unjust. notion of desert. is may be unjust laws. namely. that a second case of injustice consists in taking or with- We holding from any person that to which he has a moral rigid. it seems always to be regarded as being so in the same way in which a breach of law is unjust. to de? . it is universally considered just that each person should obtain that (whether good or evil) which he deserves . a person is understood to deserve good if he does right.HOW CONNECTED WITH blamelessly be disobeyed. some say. This is. not the ultimate criterion of justice.
properly apply. Fourthly. in obedience to other considerations. other obligations of justice already spoken of. or by such conduct on the part of the person concerned as is deemed to absolve us from our overruled by obligation to him. it is. but as capable of being a stronger obligation of justice on the other side. to be blamed than applauded for giving his family or A no superiority in good offices over strangers. and indeed the cases in which they are condemned are rather the ex- person would be more likely ception than the rule. does not seem as a duty in .66 serve UTILITARIANISM. to be regarded but rather as instrumental to some other duty for it is admitted that favour and preference are not always censurable. good from those to whom he does or has done good. but as one in which the claims of justice are waved. and to constitute & forfeiture of the benefit which he has been led to expect. inconsistent with justice to be partial . Fifthly. which favour and preference do not Impartiality. at least if we have raised those Like the expectations knowingly and voluntarily. by universal admission. to show ference to one person over another. however. connexion. when he could do so without violating any other duty and no one thinks it unjust to seek one person friends . either ex: press or implied. or disappoint expectations raised by our own conduct. in preference to another as a friend. it is confessedly unjust to break faith with any one to violate an engagement. The precept of returning good for evil has never been regarded as a case of the fulfilment of justice. and evil from those to whom he does or has done evil. this one is not regarded as absolute. favour or prein matters to itself. or .
right. among Impartiality. constitutes its But in this. of course obligatory.HOW CONNECTED WITH companion. is maintained by those who support the most outrageous inequality in Even in slave countries it is the rights themselves. a disputed object to the one of There are other parties who has the right to it. cases in which impartiality means. in which it means. and always conforms in its variations to their notion equality is the dictate of justice. 67 Impartiality where rights are concerned. preceptors. must be impartial. because it is bound to award. allied to the idea of impartiality. for example. again. may . is JUSTICE. being exclusively influenced by the considerations which it is supposed ought to influence . in the eyes of many persons. except where he thinks that expediency requires inequality. The justice of giving of utility. but this is involved in the more general obligation of giving to every one his A tribunal. in the capacity of judges. still more than in any other essence. tion for the public interest as in making a selection candidates for a government employment. be said to mean. as an obligation of justice. There are cases. Each person maintains that equal protection to the rights of all. Nearly equality . the particular case in hand and resisting the solicitation of any motives which prompt to conduct different from what those considerations would which often enters as a dictate. and. or parents. component part both and into the practice of the notion of justice varies in different persons. being solely influenced by considerafluenced . administer reward and punishment as such. IP 2 . case. without regard to any two other consideration. is that of into the conception of justice it. being solely inby desert as with those who. in short.
or who produce . Some Communists consider it unjust that the produce of the labour of the community should be shared on any other principle than that of exact equality others think it just that those should receive most whose wants are greatest . those Even among who hold levelling doctrines. or whose services are more valuable to the community. tions of rank. no equality as is constituted by injustice in as much ingiving to the magistrate powers not granted to other people. do not consider and but social privileges those it who think unjust also. sion of the produce. the slave scarcely any rights to are not deemed dient. because they are not deemed inexpeThose who think that utility requires distincit unjust that riches should be unequally dispensed think this inequality inexpedient. . while others hold that those who work harder. theoretically admitted that the rights of the slave. them with equal while. at the same time. there are as many questions of justice as there are differences 01* opinion about expediency. diverse applications of the term Justice. unjust. which yet is not regarded as ambiguous. . such as they are. it is a matter of some difficulty to seize the mental link And Among so many which holds them together. more. ought to be as sacred as those of the master .00 UTILITARIANISM. Whoever thinks sees that govern- ment is necessary. and on which the moral sentiment adhering to the term essentially depends. may justly claim a larger quota in the divithe sense of natural justice may be plausibly appealed to in behalf of every one of these opinions. institutions wanting in justice which leave to enforce. and that a tribunal which strictness is fails to enforce .
comes directly from Si/cr?. and still continued to be made. There can. which if sanction of law. up to the birth of Christianity as might be expected in the case of a people whose laws attempted to embrace all subjects on which precepts were re- and who believed those laws to be a direct But other emanation from the Supreme Eeing. JustumiB a form of jmsum. might do. nations. the same things. from which came rigid and righteous. points distinctly to an origin connected with the ordinances of law. done by individuals without the And hence . in French. not committing the fallacy imputed with some show of truth to Home Tooke. In most. was conformity It constituted the entire idea among the . Etymology slight evidence of signified is. the primitive element. the etymology of the word which corresponds to Just. were not afraid to admit that those men might make bad laws. by men. in what the idea now to law. of assuming that a I am word must still continue to is mean what it originally meant. 69 Perhaps. but the very best evidence of how it sprang up. is the established term for judicature. in this embarrassment. if not in all. would be called unjust. that which has been ordered. are the courts and the administration of La justice. the administration A//catoi/ law. by law. who knew that their laws had been made originally. and in particular the Greeks and Eomans. motives. Hebrews. as indicated by its etymology. of justice. and from the same quired. be no doubt that the idee mere. languages. I think. a suit at law. some help may be derived from the history of the word. the formation of the notion of justice. is synonymous with law. RecJit.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. The courts of justice.
regulated by law. that he ought to be compelled to do it. afraid of trusting the magistrate with so unlimited an amount of power over individuals. but do not and to laws themselves.70 UTILITARIANISM. We forego that gratification on account of incidental inshould be glad to see just conduct conveniences. We enforced and injustice repressed. even when the laws actually in its idea of law and of force ceased to be accepted as the standard of it. When we think that a person is bound in justice to do a thing. not to all violations of law. it is an ordinary form of language to say. if we were not. may and But even does show himself to be either just or unjust. . the sentiment of injustice came to be attached. nor is it desired that they should be. with reason. here. we consider the impunity . but only to violations of such laws as ought to exist. It is true that mankind consider the idea of justice and its obligations as applicable to many things which neither are. should be gratified to see the obligation We enforced that its by anybody who had the power. injunctions was still predominant in the notion of justice. Nobody desires that laws should interfere with the whole detail of private life yet one allows that in all daily conduct a person every . If we see enforcement by law would be inexpedient. even in the minutest details. if supposed to be In this manner the contrary to what ought to be law. be punished. and chime in with our feelings of fitness. we lament the impossibility. that acts which we deem unjust should to be law. including such as ought to exist. the idea of the breach of what ought still It would lingers in a modified shape. though we do not always think it expedient that this should be done by the tribunals. always give us pleasure.
by the opinion of his fellow creatures if not by opinion. would not . as it exists in an Thus the advanced state of society. It Unless we think that we do not call it his Reasons of prudence.HOW CONNECTED WITH given to injustice as an for it evil. idea of legal constraint is still the generating idea of the notion of justice. JUSTICE. We do not call anything wrong. that the idea obligation in general. by the reproaches of his own con. nothing to distinguish that obligation from moral For the truth is. or the interest of other duty. of justice. But we must observe. that it contains. though undergoing several transformations before that notion. the contrary. it may be exacted from him. as one exacts a debt. Duty is a thing which may be exacted from a person. is. becomes complete. a true account. if not by law. it is clearly understood. science. enters not only into the conception of injustice. tinction between morality is a part of the notion of and simple expediency. which There are other things. but yet admit that . I think. This seems the real turning point of the dis- Duty in every one of its that a person may rightfully be compelled to forms. which is the essence of law. may militate against actually exacting it the person himself. or admire them for doing. unless we mean to imply that a person ought to be punished in some way or other for doing it . on which we like like or despise we wish that people should do. but people. as far as it of the origin and progressive growth of the idea goes. of penal sanction. 71 and strive to make amends by bringing a strong expression of our own and the public disapprobation to bear upon the offender. be entitled to complain. but into that of any kind of wrong. fulfil it. as The above yet. perhaps disthem for not doing.
not justice. they are not bound to do it is not a case of moral we do not blame them. that employ. . therefore. and we say. are left to our choice beneficence. to be punished for it . being the characteristic difference which marks off. ' . will appear. or the Moral Sense'). Now it is known that ethical writers divide moral duties into two classes. the particular occasions of performing it . nor at any pre* See this point enforced and illustrated by Professor Bain. as in the but not towards any definite person. perhaps. that is. . ideas of deserving and not deserving punishment. duties of perfect and of imperfect obliga. compelled. or merely that it would be desirable or laudable. . in an admirable chapter (entitled The Ethical Emotions. any conduct wrong. which we case of charity or are indeed bound to practise. exhorted. denoted by the ill-chosen expressions. or ought not. from the remaining provinces of Expediency and Worthiness the character is still to be sought which distinguishes justice from other branches of morality. to act in that it manner. instead. it would be right to do so and so. tion is the latter being those in which.* This. in the sequel . or some other term of dislike or disparcall we agement. though the act obligatory. but morality in general.72 UTILITARIANISM. according as we think that the person ought. according wish to see the person or as we would whom only persuaded and concerns. of the second of the two treatises composing his elaborate and profound work on the Mind. but I think there is no doubt that this dis- How we come by these tinction lies at the bottom of the notions of right and wrong. we do not obligation think that they are proper objects of punishment.
duties of imperfect obligation are those moral obligations which do not give birth to any right. I think it will be found that this distinc- tion exactly coincides with that which exists between In our justice and the other obligations of morality. 73 precise language of philosophic jurists. or in who have no tion implies also greater claims. because we found with respect to this as to every correct definition. who It seems to me that this ference between justice. JUSTICE. Whether the injustice consists in depriving a person of a pos- breaking faith with him.HOW CONNECTED WITH scribed time. duties of perfect obligation are those duties in virtue of which a correlative right resides in In the more some person or persons . and some assignable person who is wronged. Justice implies something which it is not only right to do. in each case the suppositwo things a wrong done. like that which the law gives when it confers a proprietary or other legal right. a right in some person. Injustice may be done by treating a person better than others . the term appeared generally to involve the idea of a a claim on the part of one or more personal right individuals. correlative feature in the case constitutes the specific ^difto the moral obligation to his competitors. but which some individual person can claim from us as his moral right. No one has a moral right to our generosity or beneficence. that the instances which seem to conflict with it are . and generosity or beneficence. or in treating him worse than he deserves. is but the wrong in this case are also assignable persons. survey of the various popular acceptations of justice. are not morally bound to practise those And it will be virtues towards any given individual. or worse than other people session. and wrong not to do.
whether the feeling. thus both of which classing the case as one of gratitude . out of the idea itself. by any known laws. the sentiment does not. them at all. He assimilating them to a debt . will be found to make no disof beneficence : tinction between ity in justice. the desire to punish a . rally. where we have now placed it. whatever is moral in it does. whether it it can have originated in considerations of general expediency. and in particular. the case is one of justice.74 UTILITARIANISM. to For if a moralist attempts. be termed an idea of expediency but that though . which accompanies the idea. he at once. thus is category of justice. have seen that the two essential ingredients in We the sentiment of justice are. have a right to all the good we can do them. is attached to whether it by a special dispensation of nature. Wherever there is a right. make out that mankind geneit. but to merge all / moral- Having thus endeavoured tive elements to determine the distinc- which enter into the composition of the idea of justice. by that includes generosity and beneficence within the thesis. and not of the virtue and whoever does not place the distinction between justice and morality in general. obliged to say. or that nothing less can be a sufficient return for what society does for us. that our utmost exertions are due to our fellow creatures. though not any given individual. those which most confirm as some have done. are acknowledged cases of justice. or correctly. I conceive that the sentiment itself does not arise from anything which would commonly. we are ready to enter on the inquiry. or could have grown up.
It is natural to resent. it is. and which either are or resemble instincts. such that any conwhich threatens the security of the society generally. The . with some superior animal to them. which gives a wider range to the whole of their sentiments. both in the highest degree natural. is threatening to his own. any or attempted against ourselves. not solely with their offspring. that the desire to punish a to some individual. By virtue of his superior intelligence. in beings. apart from his superior range of sympathy. The origin of this harm done sentiment it it is not necessary here to discuss. or who it thinks are about to hurt. and the feeling of sympathy. common to all animal nature for every animal . like Human being capable of sympathizing. we know. from other animals in two paror. some of the more noble animals. on. only differ First. and to repel or retaliate. ticulars. Now person it who has done harm appears to me. Secondly. beings. but with all who is kind human. 75 who has done harm. and even with all sentient. and calls forth (if his instinct instinct it be) of self-defence. itself or its this point. a human being is capable of apprehending a community of interest between himself and the human even society of duct which he forms a part. young. and belief that there is the knowledge or some definite individual or indi- viduals to whom harm has been done. whether self-regarding or sympathetic. Whether be an instinct or a result of intelligence. the impulse of self-defence. or against those with whom we sympathize. is a spontaneous outgrowth from two sentiments. in having a more developed intelligence.HOW CONNECTED WITH person JUSTICE. tries to hurt those who have hurt.
raises his instinct of sym- pathy. which wound us through. or of any collecIt is tive interest. his country. that is. or in sentiment. we r are not thinking of society at large.76 UTILITARIANISM. It is common interest with no objection against feel this doctrine to say. enables him to attach himself to the collective idea of his tribe. has nothing moral in it what is . that when we our sentiment of justice outraged. the exclusive subordination of it to the wait on and obey their call. . so as to to us but when moralized by the social feeling. moral is. however painful. to feel resentment merely because we have suffered pain but a person whose resentment is really a moral feeling. to those hurts. rendered by intellect and sympathy applicable to those injuries. is thus. in common itself. and urges him to resistance. For the natural feeling would make us resent indiscriminately whatever any one does that is disagreeable social sympathies. The sentiment of justice. I conceive. unless it be of the kind which society has a them in the repression of. or same superiority of mankind. : not otherwise a hurt to themselves. though the reverse of commendable. the natural feeling of retaliation or vengeance. joined to the power of sympathizing with human beings generally. that is. in that one of its elements which consists of the desire to punish. though . in such a manner that any act hurtful to them. it only acts in the directions conformable to the general good just persons resenting a hurt to society. society at large. common enough is blameable before he allows himself to resent it . and not resenting a hurt to themselves. intelligence. but only of the individual case. This with. who considers whether an act certainly.
that thy rule of conduct might be adopted as a law by all rational beings/ he virtually ' acknowledges that the interest of mankind collec- mankind indiscriminately. or at least of mind of the agent when conscientiously be in the Otherwise he deciding on the morality of the act. 77 such a person. . regarding the affects him individually he is not if is he consciously just he is not concerning himself about This is admitted even by the justice of his actions. and a sentiment which things : To . anti-utilitarian moralists. that a rule even of utter selfishness could not possibly be adopted by that there is any insuperable all rational beings canobstacle in the nature of things to its adoption To give any not be even plausibly maintained. meaning to Kant's principle.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. we ought recapitulate the idea of justice supposes two a rule of conduct. he may not say expressly to himself that he is standing up for the interest of society. and first The may is other (the sentiment) is a desire that punishment be suffered by those who infringe the rule. that to their collective interest. mankind. So act. sanctions the rule. certainly does feel that he is asserting a rule which is for the benefit of others as well as for his own. mon The to all must be supposed comintended for their good. the sense put upon it must to shape our conduct by a rule which all rational beings might adopt with benefit be. must tively. the conception of some dewhose finite person who suffers by the infringement . uses words without a meaning : for. in addition. If he is not feeling this act solely as it . When Kant (as before remarked) propounds as the fundamental principle of morals. though. There involved.
but as one of the forms in which the other two elements clothe themselves. throughout. a person is said to have a right to what he can earn in fair professional com- . appears to me to be. and violated by the injury. not as a separate element in the composition of the idea and sentiment. that these two things include all that of a right. we mean that he has a valid claim on society to protect him in the possession of it. rights (to use the expression appropriated to the case) And the sentiment of justice are violated by it. These elements are. treated the idea of a rigid residing in the injured person. on whatever account.78 UTILITARIANISM. the animal desire to repel or hurt or damage to oneself. I think. to have something guaranteed to him by society. the feeling derives its morality from the former. of law. its and the human conception of intelligent Prom ness. will show. a hurt to some assignable person or persons on the one hand. or lie has If by that of education and opinion. widened so as to include all retaliate a persons. Thus. by the human capacity elements. but should leave him to chance. of enlarged sympathy. either by the force we mean when we speak of violation When we call anything a person's right. the latter . I have. minds. or to his own exertions. peculiar impressive- and energy of self-assertion. what we consider a sufficient claim. we say that he has a right to it. we think this done does not belong to as soon as it is ad- mitted that society ought not to take measures for securing it to him. or to those with whom one sympathizes. self-interest. and a demand /for punishAn examination of our own ment on the other. If we desire to prove that anything him by right.
every one's All other earthly benefits are needed by one person. though he may happen to be earning it . as well as its moral justifica- from the extraordinarily important and imThe inpressive kind of utility which is concerned. to all feelings the most vital of interests. not a rational only but also an animal element. nor peculiar energy of the feeling. to account for the it is strength of the obligatioo. because there goes to the composition of the sentiment. tion. beyond the passing moment since nothing but the gratification of the instant could be of any worth to us. if we could whole value of . ought ? I can give him no other reason than general If that expression does not seem to convey a utility. On the contrary. cheerfully foregone. then. 79 petition . why it is. not needed by another and many of them can. because society ought not to allow any other person to hinder him from endeavouring to earn in that manner as much as he can. sufficient feeling of the I conceive. he has a right to three hundred a-year. thing which possession of. because society has come under an obligation to provide him with an income of that amount. To have a right. be . if necessary. terest involved is that of security. and . stock. But he has not a right to three hundred a-year.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. the thirst for retaliation. because society is not called on to if provide that he shall earn that sum. all . he owns ten thousand pounds three per cent. and this thirst derives its intensity. by something else. to have somesociety ought to defend me in the If the objector goes on to ask. or replaced for the and every good. but security no human being can possibly do without on it we depend for all our immunity from evil.
that apparent infinity. which every different person inter- . that ought and should grow into must. and why so many things appear either just or unjust. If the preceding analysis. The claim assumes that character of absoluteness. are continually informed that Utility We an un- certain standard. of the claim we have on our fellow creatures to join in making safe for us the very groundwork of our existence. if justice be totally independent of utility. cannot be had. according to is the light in which they are regarded. becomes a moral necessity. that the dif- ference in degree (as is often the case in psychology) becomes a real difference in kind. ful. be not the correct account of the notion of justice. therefore. unless the machinery for providing it is kept unintermittedly in active play. and be a standard per se. after physical nutriment. which the mind can recognize by simple introspection of itself. be deprived of everything the next instant by whoever was momentarily stronger than ourselves. it is hard to understand why that internal oracle is so ambiguous. and incommensurability with all other considerations. Now this most indispensable of all necessaries. and recognized in dispensability cal. analogous to physiand often not inferior to it in binding force. Our notion. or something resembling it. The feelings concerned are /so power- and we count so positively on finding a responsive feeling in others (all being alike interested). gathers feelings around it so of the much more intense than those concerned in any more common cases of utility.80 UTILITARIANISM. which constitute the distinction between the feeling of right and wrong and that of ordinary expediency and inexpediency.
justice is not some one rule. ineffaceable. this the legitimate right of selfbeing the exercise of defence. case could leave us in as cal demonstration.HOW CONNECTED WITH prets differently. for the criminal did not affirms that it is unjust make his and the circumstances . again. to punish at all . and in choosing between which. no one has a right but that they to control their own judgment of it . and individuals different notions of justice. or by his own personal presay. is 81 and that there no safety but in the immutable. contending that to punish persons who have attained years of discretion. own character . application to any given little doubt as a mathematiits So far is this that there much difference of opinion. may justly be punished to prevent evil to others. since if the matter at issue is solely their own good. but many. discussion. or maxim. and are independent of the fluctuations of One would suppose from this that on quesopinion. about what is just. Owen. that it is For instance. only when intended Others maintain for the good of the sufferer himself. and as what is Not only have different nations useful to society. Mr. the extreme reverse. he is guided either by some extraneous dilections. and unmistakeable dictates of Justice. but in the mind of one and the same individual. for their own benefit. his education. that punishment is just. there are some who unjust to punish any one for the sake of example to others . principle. we take that for our rule. which do not always coincide in their dictates. standard. as about is as much from being the fact. that if tions of justice there could be no controversy . JUSTICE. is despotism and injustice. which carry their evidence in themselves.
. have made him a criminal. injustice of singling out an individual. Each is triumphant so long not compelled to take into consideration any other maxims of justice than the one he has selected as he is . argued as one of justice simply. and the admitted injustice of forcing one person to conform to another's notions of him what constitutes for his good. To a favourite contriescape from the other difficulties. they have always been felt to be such and many devices have been invented to turn rather than to overcome them. unless it be supposed to have come into that state . they called the freedom of the will fancying that they could not justify punishing a man whose will is in a thoroughly hateful state. For in truth every source of its one of the three builds upon rules of justice con- The first appeals to the acknowledged fessedly true. carry out his own notion of justice without trampling upon another equally binding. without going down to the principles which lie under justice and are the is authority. each disputant seems to have exactly as much No one of them can to say for himself as the others. . As a refuge from the last of the three. that it is unjust to punish any one what he cannot help. and for these he is not responsible. for other people's benefit. but as soon as their several maxims are brought face to face. and making a sacrifice. These are difficulties . without his consent. The second relies on the acknowledged justice of self-defence.82 UTILITARIANISM. men imagined what through no influence of anterior circumstances. The Owenite invokes the admitted principle. All these opinions and so long as the question are extremely plausible . I am unable to see how any of these reasoners can be refuted. which surrounded him.
this the consent were not a mere maxim it is not superior in authority to the brought in to supersede. whereby at some unknown period all the members of society engaged to obey the laws.HOW CONNECTED WITH vance has been the JUSTICE. in virtue of another received of justice. which it is assumed they would not otherwise have had. and to legitimate the punishment. I need hardly supposed if is maxim unjust which who is remark. of inflicting punishAgain. not able to adhere consistently to the maxim. either for their own good or for that of society. of punishing them. and consented to be punished for any disobedience to them. This happy thought was considered to infliction of get rid of the whole difficulty. when the legitimacy conflicting conceptions to light in discussing the proper apportionment of punishments to offences. that even fiction. how many of justice come G2 . on the contrary. into use as a help to the coarse exigencies of courts of law. 83 fiction of a contract. which are sometimes obliged to be content with very uncertain presumptions. and sometimes on that of mere mistake or misinformation. for they allow voluntary engagements to be set aside on the ground of fraud. No rule on the subject recommends itself so strongly to the ment is admitted. an instructive specimen of the loose and irregular manner in which supposed principles of This particular one evidently came justice grow up. thereby giving to their legislators the right. on account of the greater evils which would often arise from any attempt on others which But even courts of law are their part to cut finer. that is not is done with the consent of the person to be hurt by it. Volenti non Jit injuria . It is.
I suspect. primitive and spontaneous sentiment of justice. Though this principle of Mahomedan law has heen the Jewish and of the tribution accidentally falls precise on an offender in that shape. what meaning that it : necessary to deter from the offence. In a co-operative industrial association. the general feeling of satisfaction bears witness how natural is the sentiment to evinced. in their estimation whom that consideration is all in all who maintain is : amount of punishment . at least for man. that superior abilities have already advantages more than enough. in the admiration they . having nothing to do with the question of while there are others to justice. With . any it is amount of suffering beyond the least that will suffice to prevent him from repeating. there is. deserves equally well. this which repayment in kind is acceptable. his misconduct. and others from imi- take another example from a subject already once referred to. and ought not a title should give the negative in justice to be put in a position of inferiority for no fault of his own .84 UTILITARIANISM. an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. that whoever does side the best he can. that not just. is it just or To not that talent or skill On to superior remuneration ? of the question it is argued. generally abandoned in Europe as a practical maxim. many. to inflict on a fellow-creature. the test of justice in penal infliction is that the punishment should be proportioned to the offence should be exactly measured by the moral guilt of the culprit (whatever be their standard for measuring moral guilt) the consideration. whatever may be his offences. tating. as the lex talionis. in most minds. a secret hankering after it and when re.
proportioned to his shall decide between these superior efficiency. from his own point of view. taking a higher per-centage from those who have more . and the internal sources of satisfaction attending them. much as others. with- out adding to these a superior share of the world's goods and that society is bound in justice rather to . society owes him a larger return for them . and the two disputants have chosen opposite sides. is unanswerable and any choice between them. that payment to the State should be in numerical proportion to pecuniary means. the preference. which it is impossible has Who harmony. that society receives more from the more efficient labourer . are the standards of justice to which reference is made in dis- How One opinion is. that a greater share of the joint result is actually his work. that if he is only to he can only be justly re- quired to produce as much. . on grounds of justice. and to give a smaller amount of time and exertion. the other to what to bring into it is just that the community should give. cussing the repartition of taxation. Social utility alone can decide many.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. claim to it is a kind of robbery receive as and not to allow his . Others think that justice dictates what they term graduated taxation . Each. and how irreconcileable. make compensation to the less favoured. On the contrary side it is contended. to conflicting principles of justice? Justice appeals in this case two sides to it. the personal influence they command. again. for this un- merited inequality of advantages. than to aggravate it. 85 excite. the one looks to what it is just that the individual should receive. must be perfectly arbitrary. that his services being more useful.
or to all pay the same sum for the same privileges.00 to spare. influence appealed to against it. and taking the same absolute sum (whenever it could be got) from every one : as the subscribers to a mess. not a dealer should charge to all customers the same price for the same article. ment there price. Others. is is afforded to. making all buy it at the same injustice. and an unequal tax for the protection of their proTo this others reply. UTILITARIANISM. and no It injustice in is equally required by all. which is unequal. because it conflicts so strongly with man's feelings of humanity and of social expediency but the principle of justice which it invokes is as true and as binding as those whicli can be . whether they can all equally afford it or not. in the absence of law or government. as a justification for its taking more from them though this is in reality not true. for the rich would be far better able to protect themselves. People feel obliged to argue that the State does more for the rich than for the poor. not a price varying according to their to taxation. In point of natural justice a strong case might be made for disregarding means altogether. Accordingly it exerts a tacit on the line of defence employed for other modes of assessing taxation. that perty. again. as applied no advocates. finds means of payment. This doctrine. so far defer to the same conception of justice. that is reckoned justice. the all of one man is as valuable to him as the all of . than the poor. Since the protection (it might be said) of law and govern- a club. as to maintain that all should pay an equal capitation tax for the protection of their persons (these being of equal value to all). and indeed would probably be successful in converting the : poor into their slaves.
The profess the most sublime contempt for the consequences of actions as an element in their morality. then. than any other rules for the guidance of life and the notion which we have found to be of the essence of the idea of justice. "While I dispute the pretensions of any theory which sets up an imaginary standard of justice not grounded I account the justice which is grounded on to be the chief part. w ho T attaches more importance to the distinction than I do. By no means. of all morality. which concern the essentials of human well-being more nearly. that of a right residing in an individual. Jus- on utility. and that the latter ought only to be listened to after the former has been satisfied? we have given ment. which forbid mankind to hurt one another (in which we must never forget to include wrongful interference with each other's freedom) are more vital to human well-being than any maxims. implies and testifies to this more binding tice is a name for certain classes of moral rules. however important. and are therefore of more absolute obligation. JUSTICE. and incomparably the utility most sacred and binding part. .HOW CONNECTED WITH another. which only point out the best rules The moral mode of managing some department of human affairs. those exposition of the nature and origin of the sentiand no one of recognizes a real distinction . . the difference between the Just and the Have Expedient a merely imaginary distinction? mankind been under a delusion in thinking that justice is a more sacred thing than policy. is 87 From these confusions there no other mode Is. of extrication than the utilitarian. obligation.
nothing in inculcating : on each other the duty of positive beneficence they have an unmistakeable interest. they may gain. in his freedom of pursuing his own good. every one would see in every one else an enemy. beings. which compose the obligations of justice. It is by a person's observance of these. and those which he has the strongest or by being hindered interest in publishing and enforcing by word and deed. precepts which mankind have the strongest and the most direct inducements for impressing upon one another. these moralities primarily. Thus the moralities which protect every individual from being harmed by others. They have also the peculiarity. or think they gain. It is their observance : which alone preserves peace among human beings if obedience to them were not the rule. against guarding himself. that they are the main element in determining the whole of the social feelings of mankind. and those which give the tone to it is Now the feeling of repugnance which characterizes the sentiment. but far less in degree a person may possibly not need the benefits of others but he always needs that they should not ^do him hurt. the . By merely giving to the each other prudential instruction or exhortation. is being a nuisance or not to those with one of the fellowship of human tested and decided for on that depends his whom he is in contact.00 UTILITARIANISM. The most marked cases of injustice. are at once those which he himself has most at heart. that his fitness to exist as . and disobedience the exception. these are whom he must What is hardly be perpetually less important. or wrongful exercise of power some one . are acts of wrongful over aggression. either directly : .
is shown in the fact that it constitutes the principal criminality of two such highly immoral acts as a hurts which breach of friendship and a breach of promise. enjoin the punishment of those who violate them . of the disappointment of expectation. dictates of justice is . for counting upon. inflicts a real hurt. and as the impulses of self-defence. though less obvious. and is is universally inalso one of the utility Good and it for this. one at least tacitly and one which he must conferred. than when that on which they . are all called forth against such persons. inflicting physical or of a social kind. retribution. 89 next are those which consist in wrongfully withholding from him something which is his due in both : on him a positive hurt. and denies a return of them when needed. and though feeling. and of vengeance. or of the privation of some good which he had reasonable ground. existing in the most elementary cases of just and unjust. and none wound more. Yew human beings can sustain are greater. of defence of others. either of a cases. either in the form of direct suffering.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. by disappointing of the most natural and reasonable of expectations. which. The same powerful motives which command the observance of these primary moralities. justice. otherwise the benefits would seldom have been The important rank. among human and wrongs. carries first with a natural human has not at sight that obvious connexion with hurt or injury. good though its social it evident. But the connexion. or evil for evil. becomes closely connected with the sentiment of cluded in the idea. is the source of the characteristic intensity of the sentiment. have encouevils raged. is not less reaL He who accepts benefits.
or in a sympathizing spectator. are effect the prinof justice which we have now spoken of. therefore. and commonly appealed to in its transactions. is not only included within the idea of Justice as is we have defined it. that the punishment ought to be proportioned to the offence.90 UTILITARIANISM. That ciples a person is only responsible for what he has done simply instrumental to carrying into voluntarily. that is. That first of judicial virtues. a proper Most of the maxims of justice current in the world. is obligation of justice. which have been naturally led to a more complete recognition and elaboration than was likely to suggest itself to others. are maxims intended to prevent the just principle of evil for evil from being perverted to the infliction of evil without that justification. and few wrongs are greater than this mere withholding of good. above the simply Expedient. none excite more resentment. impartiality. of the rules necessary to enable them to double function. and of awarding to each person his right. or could voluntarily have avoide/d. The greater part of these common maxims have come into use from the practice of courts of justice. due. but object of that intensity of sentiment. and the like. which places the Just. habitually and with full assurance relied. of giving to each what they deserve. as being a necessary condition of the fulfil- an men- ment of the other obligations of justice. either in the person suffering. fails them in the hour of need . of inflicting punishment fulfil their when . good for good as well as evil for evil. But this is . that it is unjust to condemn any person unheard . The principle. in human estimation. partly for the reason last tioned .
Herbert . mere form of words without rational signification. of perfect impartiality between persons. being a direct emanation from the first principle of morals. and the efforts of all virtuous citizens. are included among the pre- In one point of view. count for one. 91 not the only source of the exalted rank. both in popular estimation and in that of the most enlightened.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. This all institutions. involved in the very meaning of Utility. is regarded by Mr. or the That principle is a Greatest-Happiness Principle. supposed equal in degree (with the proper allowance for exactly as made for kind). they may be cepts of justice. it good for good should treat all equally well of it. Those conditions ' everybody to being supplied. who have deserved equally is the highest abstract standard of social and distributive justice towards which . If it is a duty to do to each according to as well as repressfollows that we should ing by necessarily treat all equally well (when no higher duty forbids) who have deserved equally well of us. and that society his deserts.* The equal claim of everybody to * This implication. considered as corollaries from the principles already laid down. deeper foundation. which. in the first principle of the utilitarian scheme. should be made in the utmost possible degree to conBut this great moral duty rests upon a still verge. returning evil evil. unless one person's happiness. is counted much as another's. well absolutely. nobody for more than one/ might be written under the principle of utility as an explanatory commentary. equally well who have deserved that is. among human obligations. Bentham's dictum. of those maxims of equality and impartiality. and not a mere logical corolIt is lary from secondary or derivative doctrines.
Mr. and those strued. as in all other branches of scientific study. human exclusively thinks that utilitarians generally confine themselves to. Herbert Spencer. and the general interest. involves an equal claim to all the means of happiness. it can be no other than this. however. is. so this.' I have no dissent to express from this doctrine and (omitting that word) I am not aware that any modern advocate of ' . and completely attainable only by deducing. chargeable with unwillingness to deduce the effect of actions on happiness from the laws of human nature and the universal conditions is of a different opinion. as I collect. that in ethics. and declining altogether to be bound by the generalizations from specific experience which Mr. for what is the principle of utility. [Mr. limits ought to be strictly conis As ' every other maxim of justice. whether felt by the same or by different persons. except in so far as the inevitable conditions of human life. but the very principle itself. not a premise needful to support the principle of utility. is requisite to give to any general proposition the kind and degree of evidence which constitutes scientific proof. in a private communication j and what kinds to produce unhappiness. .] . if it happiness' and desirable' are synonymous terms ? If any anterior principle implied. in which that of every individual is included. certainly. that the truths of arithmetic are applicable to the valuation of hap' be not that is ' there on the subject of the preceding Note. own opinion (and. and states that he regards happiness as the ultimate end of morality but deems that end only partially attainable by empirical generalizations from the observed results of conduct. to whom particularly referred. Spencer's) is. This. Spencer of life. piness. each corroborating and verifying the other. Spencer The common charge against him is of relying too upon such deductions. since (he says) the principle of utility presupposes the anterior principle. is not a pre- supposition . happiness in the estimation of the moralist and the legislator. utilitarianism in the Social Statics Bentham. Mr. from the laws of life and the conditions of existence. what kinds of action necessarily tend to produce happiness. as of all other measurable quantities.92 UTILITARIANISM. With the exception of the word necessarily. objects to being considered an opponent of Utilitarianism. set limits to the maxim. least of all writers. that everybody has an equal Spencer right to happiness. It may be more correctly described as supposing that equal amounts of happiness are equally desirable. Social Statics') as a disproof of the pretensions of (in his utility to be a sufficient guide to right . the consilience of the results ot both My these processes.
and sex. race. has passed into the rank of an universally stigmatized in- So it has been with the distincjustice and tyranny. by which one custom or institution after another. but . stand higher in the scale of social utility. except when some recognised And hence social expediency requires the reverse. 93 . the correc- would make that which they approve. by no means applied or held applicable universally on the contrary. forgetful that they themselves perhaps tolerate other inequalities under an equally mistaken notion of expediency. tions of slaves and freemen. provement has been a series of transitions. it may not only be allowable. seem quite as monstrous as what they have at last The entire history of social imlearnt to condemn. that justice is a name for certain moral requirements. as I have already remarked. that people are apt to wonder how they ever could have been tolerated. Thus. It appears from what has been said. from being a tion of which supposed primary necessity of social existence. any others which some other more paramount obligation. But in whatever case it is deemed applicable at all. to save a life. but of injustice. regarded . which. patricians and plebeians and so it will be. All persons are deemed to have a right to equality of treatment. as to overrule any one of the general maxims of justice.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. it bends to every person's ideas of social expediency. nobles and serfs. it is held to be the dictate of justice. assume the character not of simple inexpediency. all social inequalities which have ceased to be considered expedient. collectively. and are therefore of . with the aristocracies of colour. and in part already is. and appear so tyrannical. than though particular cases may occur in social duty is so important.
and we are saved from the necessity of maintaining that there can be laudable injustice. If this characteristic sentiment has been . the necessary food or medicine. It has always been evident that all cases of justice are also cases of expediin the peculiar sentiment attaches to the former. by reason of that other principle. or to kidnap. not just in the particular case. By this useful accommodation of language. The considerations resolve. sufficiently accounted for if there is no necessity to . and all if this feeling not only does but ought to exist in the classes of cases to which the idea of justice . to steal. moralized by being made coextensive with the demands of social good. or take by force. as contradistinguished ency : the difference is which from the latter. the In such cases. which have now been adduced the only real difficulty in the utilitarian theory of morals. not that justice must give way to some other moral principle. therefore. but that what is just in ordinary cases is. than any others are as a class (though not more so than others may be in particular and which. we usually say. we do not call anything justice which is not a virtue. guarded by a sentiment not only diffe- . a duty. as only qualified medical practitioner. that idea no longer presents itself as a Justice stumbling-block to the utilitarian ethics. I conceive.94 UTILITARIANISM. the character of indefeasibility attributed to justice is kept up. and compel to officiate. as well as cases) . and therefore more absolute and imperative. naturally are. ought to be. assume for it any peculiarity of origin if it is simply the natural feeling of resentment. corresponds remains the appropriate name for certain social utilities which are vastly more important.
at once by the more definite nature of its commands. 95 rent in degree. . THE END. and by the sterner character of its sanctions.HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. distinguished from the milder feeling which attaches to the mere idea of promoting human pleasure or convenience. but also in kind.
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