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About This Event

Summary

The Peirce Seminar Series Presents

 

 

 

Jeffrey Downard

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Northern Arizona University

 

 

 

 

Pain and Pleasure: Mill’s Utilitarianism rebutted with Peirce’s Phenomenology

 

 

 

 

In his classic work on moral theory, John Stuart Mill argues that empirical observations are the only kind of proof that can be given to show that something is good.  Drawing on evidence about what each of us desires, he argues that pleasure and the absence of pain are the only things that are good for their own sake.  All other things, including virtue, the will and justice, are good solely insofar as they are a means to happiness or a part of it.  In this paper, I will draw on Peirce’s phenomenology in order to develop some objections to Mill’s arguments.  In particular, I will use Peirce’s account of the formal categories of firstness, secondness and thirdness in order to show that Mill cannot give an adequate explanation of what is necessary to make a comparison of the value of two things that are held to be good—such as a comparison of the value of intellectual and physical pleasures.

 

 

 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

ES0016

 

 

 

 

 

Contact:

David Pfeifer

278-2306

depfeife@iupui.edu

 

 

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Contact Information

David Pfeifer
depfeife@iupui.edu

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