Mill's Principle of Utility: Origins, Proof, and Implications: Revised and Enlarged Edition

Leiden and Boston: Brill (2022)
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Mill’s Principle of Utility: Origins, Proof, and Implications (Leiden: Brill, 2022) is a scholarly monograph on John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism with a particular emphasis on his proof of the principle of utility. Originally published as Mill’s Principle of Utility: A Defense of John Stuart Mill’s Notorious Proof (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 1994), the present volume is a revised and enlarged edition with additional material, tighter arguments, crisper discussions, and updated references. The initiative is still principally an analysis, interpretation, and defense of the controversial proof, which has yet to attract a scholarly consensus on how it works and whether it succeeds. Well over a century and a half after Mill’s contribution, the subject matter continues to figure prominently in classroom discussions, where the principle and its proof are presented and debated in connection with the critical baggage of logical problems and conceptual confusions wrongly attributed to Mill from the beginning. The overarching aim of the book, now supplemented by a comprehensive historical background and salient philosophical implications, remains the vindication of Mill’s reasoning in pursuit of what he promises as a proof of the principle of utility.

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Necip Fikri Alican
Washington University in St. Louis (PhD)


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