Love, Poetry, and the Good Life: Mill's Autobiography and Perfectionist Ethics

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (6):565-578 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

I argue for a perfectionist reading of Mill’s account of the good life, by using the failures of development recorded in his Autobiography as a way to understand his official account of happiness in Utilitarianism. This work offers both a new perspective on Mill’s thought, and a distinctive account of the role of aesthetic and emotional capacities in the most choiceworthy human life. I consider the philosophical purposes of autobiography, Mill’s disagreements with Bentham, and the nature of competent judges and the pleasure they take in higher culture. I conclude that Millian perfectionism is an attractive and underappreciated option for contemporary value theory.

Author's Profile

Sam Clark
Lancaster University

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-11-07

Downloads
767 (#17,719)

6 months
101 (#34,171)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?