Early in the text Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill (2014) says that that utilitarianism is based on a “theory of life” that some have called “a doctrine worthy only of swine.” What is this “theory of life,” and how does he draw upon it to defend the utilitarian theory of morality? What do critics mean when they call this a “doctrine worthy only of swine,” and how does Mill respond to that criticism? Do you think that his response vindicates this “theory of life”, or is he mistaken about what has ultimate value in human life? Finally, does his view make utilitarianism more plausible or less plausible as a moral theory? Your posts should demonstrate that you have read and thought critically about Mill’s text.

Rubric:

What is this “theory of life”, and how is it used to defend utilitarianism? 1 point
Explain “doctrine worthy only of swine” and Mills’ response to that criticism: 1 point
What do you think? Is utilitarianism plausible or not? 1 point

 
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