Internal Sanctions in Mill's Moral Psychology

Utilitas 10:1 (1998), pp. 68–81
Mill's discussion of 'the internal sanction' in chapter III of Utilitarianism does not do justice to his understanding of internal sanctions; it omits some important points and obscures others. I offer an account of this portion of his moral psychology of motivation which brings out its subtleties and complexities. I show that he recognizes the importance of internal sanctions as sources of motives to develop and perfect our characters, as well as of motives to do our duty, and I examine in some detail the various ways in which these sanctions give rise to motivating desires and aversions.