Mill's Misleading Moral Mathematics

Southwest Philosophy Review 24:1 (2008), pp. 153–61
With Ben Eggleston

The debate over whether Mill is better read as an act or a rule utilitarian began in the 1950s and has continued ever since. We argue that in certain passages in which Mill initially appears to be endorsing the act-utilitarian moral theory, he is really doing something quite different. Insofar as he is endorsing any particular view at all, it is not act utilitarianism—nor is it even a moral theory. Instead, it is a view about how to assess individual actions that informs, but does not translate without modification into, Mill’s rule-utilitarian moral theory.

Published version (available for free!)