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According to John Stuart Mill, why should we choose pleasure or pain as the arbiters of...

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hawaholmes | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2009 at 12:02 AM via web

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According to John Stuart Mill, why should we choose pleasure or pain as the arbiters of morality?

human developed that self esteem if not relate to pain

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 26, 2009 at 3:40 AM (Answer #1)

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Well, let me start by stating that I don't think we should. However, using Mill's reasoning, there are certain solid reasons we should. First, doing so provides a universal binary scale: you can appraise just two factors, pleasure and pain, rather than duty, religious imperative, etc. This provides a strong universal reference. Second, this unified scale would seem to escape the conflicting claims that so trouble people: what happens when two duties clash? When legal duty and religion clash? This scale dissolves those. Third, it allows for a kind of universal calculus of ethics—a hope of objectivity.

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