India House Utilitarianism

With Ben Eggleston
Southwest Philosophy Review 23:1 (2007), pp. 39–47

Among the most thoroughly debated interpretive questions about the moral philosophy of John Stuart Mill is whether he should be understood as an act utilitarian or as an ideal-code rule utilitarian. We argue that neither of these interpretations fits the textual evidence as well as does a novel view we call ‘India House utilitarianism’. On this view, an act is right if and only if it is not forbidden by the code of rules the agent is justified in believing to be the one, of those she can reasonably be expected to be aware of, whose general acceptance would produce the most happiness.

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