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Utilitarianism

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Suggested Essay Topics

Writing Help Suggested Essay Topics

How does Mill define happiness? How does this affect utility as a measuring device?

Why is Mill so concerned about showing that his theory allows for ultimate sanctions? Do you agree with Mill that punishment is the essence of morality?

Pamela is walking through the forest when she happens upon a man who is about to kill five people. He tells her that if she kills one of those people, he will let the other four go free. Pamela has reason to believe he will keep his promise. What would Mill say she should do, and why? If you disagree with Mill, explain why.

How does impartiality fit into Mill's arguments for utilitarianism? Is his assumption correct that morality requires impartiality?

Mill structures much of his essay as a reply to previous criticisms about utilitarianism. How does this affect Mill's presentation of his arguments? Stylistically, does this add or detract from Mill's discussion?

What is the role of education and socialization in Mill's theory? To what degree does Mill believe people's values are shaped by their social environment?

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