Essay heading: Is Mill a Rule Utilitarian?

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Philosophy

 

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Date added:

March 6, 1998

 

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4 / 889

 

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When, in the statement of the Utilitarian Principle, Mill says that right actions tend to promote happiness, some have taken that to mean that Mill must only be dealing with classes of action. If this were the case, then an instance of a right action class, if in the wrong (of any infinitely complex) set of circumstances, may fail to maximize happiness but still be right...
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If this were the case, then an instance of a right action class, if in the wrong (of any infinitely complex) set of circumstances, may fail to maximize happiness but still be right. Furthermore, an act-utilitarian may still make great use of moral rules to help make right actions. It may be that moral rules provide a generally reliable guideline for how to act without determining that it is always the right way to act and that they indicate completely wrong action in some cases...
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