University of Pittsburgh, Spring Term 1998
Philosophy 0300: Introduction to Ethics
Monday/Wednesday writing recitations
Ben Eggleston, recitation instructor

Paper Assignment no. 5

Write an essay of about 4 pages on the following topic. Your essay should make ample use of the relevant text, not only representing the author’s views accurately, but also citing and interpreting specific passages where appropriate. It should also go into as much depth and detail as an essay of this length can. Finally, your essay should conform to the instructions provided in “Guidelines for Writing a Philosophy Paper.” Your paper will be due at the beginning of your recitation section on Wednesday, April 15.

A distinctive feature of Mill’s version of utilitarianism is his distinction among pleasures according to quality as well as according to quantity. Why does Mill think that utilitarianism is made more defensible when this distinction is included? Does the introduction of this distinction create problems for Mill, given his commitment to the view that “pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things desirable as ends” (II.2)? If so, would Mill concede that utilitarianism is doomed, or would he maintain that utilitarianism be defended without this distinction? Is Mill right about this?